Steven Soderbergh is Producing the 2021 Oscars, Aims to Shake Things Up

Today, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that writer/director/producer Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, The Knick) will be one of three producers of the 93rd Academy Awards. This will mark Soderbergh’s first time ever producing the awards ceremony, which will be taking place in April of next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Academy brought the news that Soderbergh will be producing the 2021 Oscars alongside Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher. Collins is an Emmy-nominated producer who has years of live production experience, winning his Emmy for producing last year’s Grammy Awards. Sher has left her mark in the world of movies, producing or executive producing films like Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Reality Bites, and many more. She previously worked with Soderbergh on movies like Contagion and Erin Brockovich.

Despite their reams of experience, no member of this trio has ever produced the Academy Awards before. Considering how viewership numbers have absolutely plummeted in recent years, the Oscars is likely hoping that they’ll be able to do something which drastically increases the amount of people who tune in, but that will be a tough task when, anecdotally, the sentiment among general audiences seems to be that “no movies came out this year” because of COVID-19. (Trust me, plenty of movies were released in 2020 – and some great ones, too. Stay tuned for /Film’s end of the year coverage for more on this topic.)

“The upcoming Oscars is the perfect occasion for innovation and for re-envisioning the possibilities for the awards show,” said new Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson. “This is a dream team who will respond directly to these times. The Academy is excited to work with them to deliver an event that reflects the worldwide love of movies and how they connect us and entertain us when we need them the most.”

“We’re thrilled and terrified in equal measure,” the producers jointly said. “Because of the extraordinary situation we’re all in, there’s an opportunity to focus on the movies and the people who make them in a new way, and we hope to create a show that really FEELS like the movies we all love.” Let the speculation begin about what that might mean and what it could translate into during the show itself. But considering Soderbergh’s track record as a filmmaker who’s willing to experiment and push the envelope a bit, I have a good feeling about this.

The 93rd Oscars will be held on April 25, 2021, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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