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Steven Soderbergh has been chosen to produce the 2021 Oscars. Can the cagey director save the fading awards show?

Strippers at the Oscars? Can Steven Soderbergh save the awards show?

This year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences seems to be having a “break glass in case of emergency” moment with their selection of Steven Soderbergh as the ceremony’s producer. 

While we’d be willing to pay a handsome sum to see singer Ginuwine open the show with his hit song “Pony” as Channing Tatum and a slew of other stars join him on stage in a striptease, tapping Steven Soderbergh for the role of producer is a very interesting choice. (Just imagine watching the elder Academy members faint in horror at the sight of stripping on the stage.) 

93rd Oscars’ ceremony 

The Academy clearly appears to be full-steam ahead on having the Oscars event in 2021. While they pushed back the ceremony’s standard winter airing to April, taking place during the pandemic with few 2020 film releases is an odd choice.

You’re telling me Will Ferrell could actually get a Best Performance by a Male Lead nomination for Eurovision Song Contest? Another head-scratcher: why is the Academy still determined to make the Oscars ceremony an in-person event? 

Oscars need a ‘shot in the arm’

While winning an Oscar is certainly the most “prestigious” of achievements in Hollywood, the Academy Awards ceremony itself is a bit of a bore. The awards ceremony typically airs for three hours, sometimes longer, giving unnecessary airtime to random montages of movies’ most powerful moments.

(And yet they don’t have the b@!!s to include Jim Carrey’s fake rhino birth from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) and meandering acceptance speeches. 

While the Golden Globes ceremony, typically taking place a few months prior, are considered less “prestigious”, they at least know how to put on an entertaining program, allowing the celebrities to get drunk in their seats and giving us moments like Leonardo DiCaprio getting busted for laughing at Lady Gaga.

Let’s face it, the Oscars need help. 

Steven Soderbergh

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh will be joining the Oscars’ producing team for the 2021 ceremony, tasked with finding a way to bring new life into the otherwise dull show. 

The director, who will be joining Oscar-nominated producer Stacey Sher and Emmy-nominated producer Jesse Collins, is known for beloved films such as Traffic, Erin Brockovich, the Ocean’s trilogy, Magic Mike, and many, many others. 

The fact that Steven Soderbergh is taking the reins of next year’s ceremony amidst a pandemic is ironic, seeing as how he directed the 2011 thriller Contagion, a film revolving around a global pandemic due to a lethal disease.

Man, remember when Contagion was nothing more than a “what if”?

Steven Soderbergh is a Hollywood veteran and will surely bring some ideas to the Academy table in terms of boosting the show’s overall entertainment value – most likely in ways not involving strippers. 

However, the show did let Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars’ ceremony back in 2013, in which he opened the show with the controversial number “We Saw Your Boobs”. The song, which was clearly an effort by the Academy to spice things up, failed to impress viewers & guests, backfiring badly as Academy members called MacFarlane crude for his opening number. 

What to expect

It’s difficult to say, really. The Academy Awards will be going through a wide variety of changes in the upcoming months, juggling whether the Oscars will be able to host an audience of Hollywood guests at the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. 

Making the Oscars an exciting show is a tall-order for Soderbergh, but to do so during a pandemic is a task many would avoid. 

Then again, Steven Soderbergh is known for his risk-taking, making projects such as HBO’s Behind the Candelabra in 2013, a film that delved into the personal relationship of musician Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his younger boyfriend, Scott Thorson (Matt Damon).

While we don’t know what direction Soderbergh and his producing team will go, we do believe, at the very least, Soderbergh will present us with a ceremony offering moments not yet familiar to the Oscar stage.

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