The organizers of the first big awards show of this pandemic-challenged season—the 2020 Emmys—confirmed yesterday that it would be held virtually. When the producers announced on June 17 that Jimmy Kimmel would be the show’s host, they held out some hope that the ceremony might be a mixture of a live and online event. But as they drew closer to the September 20 ceremony, it apparently became clear that a live component would be impossible to pull off.
“As you’ve probably guessed, we’re not going to be asking you to come to the Microsoft Theatre in downtown L.A. on September 20,” said a letter sent to the Emmy nominees on Wednesday and obtained by Variety. “This year, it’s still going to be TV industry’s biggest night out…but we’ll come to you!”
No exact details were shared, but the letter goes on to say, “We are assembling a top-notch team of technicians, producers and writers to work closely with Jimmy Kimmel and with you and your team, to make sure that we can film with you (and loved ones or whomever else you choose to be with) at your home, or another location of your choice. We’re going to make you look fabulous—we’re exploring the cutting edge of technology to allow to use good cameras and lighting and look forward to working with you to produce your unique ‘onscreen moments.’”
When Kimmel, who has hosted the show twice before, was announced as this year’s host, he addressed the uncertainly that lay ahead. “I don’t know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it,” said the late-night talk show host. The Emmys show, in whatever form it takes, will be aired (or livestreamed, perhaps) on ABC.
And for those viewers who may be missing the red carpet, the producers seem hopeful that they can replace that awards show ritual with a virtual experience as well.
“So, what are you wearing???” the letter to nominees continues. “Our informal theme for the night is ‘come as you are, but make an effort!’ If you want to be in formalwear, we’d love that, but equally if you’re in the U.K. and it’s 3 a.m., perhaps you want to be in designer pajamas and record from your bed! We want to work with you to style your moments, but want you to guide us on your levels of comfort—where you want to be, who you want to be with, what you want to wear etc.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the awards show front, the Venice Film Festival, which begins on September 2, announced this week that it will go on as scheduled, including holding some in-person screenings. There will, however, be a reduced number of films in contention, some screenings will take place outdoors, and the organizers will adhere to Italy’s social distancing regulations.
According to the New York Times, “The festival will keep at least half of the seats in its screening venues empty, and screen guests with temperature checks both as they enter the festival areas and as they go into screenings. Social distancing will be in place throughout the festival and masks will be worn.”
“The show must go on and the world must go on,” Roberto Cicutto, the president of La Biennale di Venezia, which runs the festival, told the Times. He added it was important “to watch and to discuss movies together, to live this art the way we used to live it.”