Oscars Producer Jesse Collins ‘creates moments’ for 93rd show

With the impact of the pandemic on the film industry came a more “intimate and fun” Oscars, according to producer Jesse Collins. The 93rd Academy Awards show was broadcasted on ABC from the Dolby Theatre and Union Station on April 25.


***Producing memories…**Enjoying a moment on the red carpet at Union Station, (from left) 2021 Oscars producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh gather prior to the show. “On The Red Carpet at the Oscars” was broadcasted at 6:30 p.m on ABC. Photo Courtesy of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)*

After a turbulent pandemic-filled year in the entertainment industry, producer Jesse Collins alongside producers Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, presented the 93rd Oscars as an evening of celebration and connection.
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated changes to the award show from past years, including mask wearing. At the beginning of the show, it was established that masks would be worn when not on air. Attendees were also fully vaccinated.
Forty-eight hours before the much-anticipated event, Collins highlighted the uniqueness of the event based on changes made due to the current pandemic.
“This was a great opportunity to try something different because we had to. We could not do the show that is normally done,” Collins said.
As producer, Collins makes the show’s magic happen along with Sher and Soderbergh. Collins said his role revolves around the creativity of the show that was brought to the screen.
“I’m just working alongside them, producing the show, dealing with the creativity, coming up with the vision, working the talent, figuring out what the talent does when they’re here and putting it all together creatively,” Collins said.
To Collins, producing the Oscars is truly about fostering memories. “For me, it’s about trying to create moments, things that people will take away, things that people will never forget, cultural moments, and things that will inspire people,” Collins said. “It’s things that bring us together.”
Multiple challenges arose during the Oscars preparation because of the pandemic. These ranged from technical difficulties to obstacles of maintaining an aesthetic.
From his experience, Collins has learned various truths about planning a large scale event during a pandemic.
“You have a plan, and then circumstances change and you have to adjust your plan,” Collins said. “You just have to go with the flow. That is what this has all been about. Every day there is some new challenge.”
Collins and the production team focused much of their preparation time on COVID-19 safety.
“We have some of the best epidemiologists in the world working on the show, making sure that all of our creative ideas are safe, and that our crew is safe,” Collins said. “It has definitely affected us, but it has also pushed us to be extremely creative to try to make the show as entertaining as possible.”
Though the pandemic impacted Oscars preparations, perseverance came from behind the scenes. “We’ve learned to just not panic, and just find a solution, and find a safe way to move forward and keep going,” Collins said.
According to Collins, a substantial difference in the show this year was the pre and post-shows. The pre-show, “Oscars: Into the Spotlight,” was held at a decorated Union Station in Los Angeles, and presented several interviews with nominees as well as music performances of nominated songs.
“It won’t have the typical red carpet look; it’ll look more intimate and fun,” Collins said prior to the show.
Unlike other award shows during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oscars were held fully in person and not virtual. According to Collins, the show was made to happen through setting up satellite feeds around the world to ensure higher quality of audio and visual aspects.
The show came at the “tailend of the pandemic” and just after a year of disarray in the entertainment industry. Although the film industry faced obstacles in the beginning of the pandemic, Collins said “the future looks bright.”
“I think the Oscars will, hopefully, be the first step in getting back to what normal is,” Collins said. “Entertainment generally has a sense of community to it; we watch films together. We go to concerts. [We watch] TV shows. [It’s] the shows that bring us all together and I think we’re going to see more of that in 2021 and 2022.”