With next year’s Oscars, that limited access pass for reporters will be gone. To say this move by the Academy was unexpected would be a lie. The writing has been on the wall.
It’s fall and that means we’re in the early stages of awards season.
And with the beginning of November, comes a looming deadline: Oscars press credentials.
Every year, the Academy tweaks its application, some years asking for more details than others.
While starting my application for 2016, I noticed a gobsmacking announcement at the bottom of the webpage: “The Academy will no longer be issuing Oscar Week credentials (also known as Exterior Access and Oscars Setup credentials).”
For reporters at smaller media companies, the “setup credentials” have been instrumental in helping give some access for covering the Oscars.
Even though access was limited to certain exterior places around the Dolby Theatre, where the annual Oscars is held, it was a gold mine for reporters looking for some impressive video and photography of the transformation of Hollywood & Highland Center, an outdoor shopping mall that houses the Dolby.
|Red Carpet setup in 2015.|
To say this move by the Academy was unexpected would be a lie. The writing has been on the wall.
Up until last year, those reporters with limited access could report from the Red Carpet on Oscar Sunday, until 11 a.m. PT. The Academy revised the rules this year, moving up the cutoff time to 10 p.m. PT Saturday.
Press opportunities also started to become limited in recent years.
Food and beverage previews held under the big tent on the Red Carpet, along with opportunities to interview directors from Oscar-nominated foreign films, fell by the wayside.
In the Academy’s defense, these events became circuses in recent years with more and more aggressive global press hankering for an interview.
|A crowded press tent on the Red Carpet in 2014. Photo by James A. Molnar|
In a statement, an Academy official told me the credentials were discontinued “due to new safety/security and capacity concerns in the Red Carpet construction areas on Hollywood Boulevard for this year’s show.”
Again, not surprising.
The Academy Awards is deemed a National Special Security Event by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Less press passes floating around means less potential for security breaches.
|International press with Setup Credentials in 2015. Photo by James A. Molnar|
We are applying for day-of-show credentials, but it is highly competitive.
As the Academy’s press applications states, “Interest in covering the Oscars is very high, and with limited space at the event, the Academy must turn down two-thirds or more of the organizations that apply each year.”
Unless a Red Carpet spot opens up for a large media organization or we win bleacher seats, 2016 might be the beginning of something different for The Gold Knight.
But fear not. Our unrivaled coverage of the Oscars will continue. We might just be a little bit farther away from the Red Carpet than usual.
The 88th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2015, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.