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2022 Oscars to require vaccine after all — but not for performers and presenters

Proof of vaccination will be required at next month's Academy Awards after all — but not for everyone. 

The 2022 Oscars will require its audience of 2,500 guests, including the nominees, to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and at least two negative PCR tests to attend, The New York Times reported Thursday and Variety confirmed. However, according to the Times, performers and presenters won't be required to show proof of vaccination, though they must "undergo rigorous testing." 

Last week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was planning to have no COVID-19 vaccine requirement to attend the Oscars at all. The Academy didn't confirm this at the time, but the report quickly sparked criticism, including from Seth MacFarlane, who hosted the Oscars in 2013. 

"This would seem, from the outside looking in, a colossal abdication of responsible management," MacFarlane tweeted. "I cannot fathom what piece of information we might be missing that would justify this."

This was also in contrast to the upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, which will require proof of vaccination for all attendees. But the Reporter previously wrote that some insiders speculated the Academy planned to be "less stringent" with its COVID-19 protocols because "more than a few high-profile industry figures" otherwise wouldn't be able to come to the ceremony. Earlier this week, Forrie J. Smith, an actor on the hit series Yellowstone, announced he wouldn't attend the SAG Awards because of the ceremony's vaccine requirement. "I'm not vaccinated," he said, "I will not get vaccinated." 

This year's Oscars will be held in Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre after taking place at a train station in 2021, and the Academy told the Times guests seated in orchestra and parterre areas won't be required to wear masks, as there will be space between them. Masks, however, may reportedly be required for others seated in the mezzanine.