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Academy says Oscar nominees and guests qualify as essential workers

The Oscars are sticking with their plan of putting on the mid-pandemic show in person — meaning nominees will evidently be considered essential workers.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a letter Tuesday said Oscar nominees qualify to receive an essential work waiver to attend the award show later this month, Variety reported.

"Those involved in the Oscars production, like nominees and their guest, qualify for the essential work purpose waiver, and therefore are permitted to travel to and from the testing center, rehearsals, and Academy-organized activities during the lead up to the Oscars production, including, of course, the award show," the letter said. "The organizers of the Oscars are implementing a required quarantine to capture the risk of each person attending the event."

Though February's Golden Globes and September's Emmys had nominees participate remotely from their own homes due to the pandemic, the Oscars' producers have gone a different route, banning Zoom entirely and telling nominees they must attend in person. That decision sparked criticism among those outside of the United States, who said it would be difficult to make their way to California. The Academy has since announced it will have some overseas "hubs" where nominees can also participate from, though there's still no Zoom option.

The producers of the Oscars have compared its production to that of a film, and so Variety writes that "implementing essential worker status follows the protocol for film and television shoots during the pandemic." Nominees are being told to quarantine prior to the Oscars, and according to Variety, they have to have their travel and quarantine plan approved by the Academy. Needless to say, seeing some nominees missing on the big night wouldn't necessarily be a surprise.

The 2021 Oscars are set for April 25.