César, Oscars, Cannes in 2021: how these cinema events want to cope with the pandemic

One week before the first awards ceremony in France – the Lumières awards – we take stock of the calendar of cinema events and their “reinvention” in times of pandemic. Oscars, César, Cannes … How are these major events shaping up?

Bruno Bebert / Bestimage

Two months before the Caesars, set this year on March 12, we take stock of the major cinema events at the start of the year, the first ceremonies (Oscars, César, Enlightenment …) and festivals of 2021 (Gérardmer , Angers, Clermont-Ferrand …) to Cannes, which recently announced its tracks so as not to be forced to turn its edition upside down again. How do these events plan to reinvent themselves in times of pandemic? Here is what we know to date.

The Lumières Awards – January 19, 2021

Next week, the Lumière ceremony, our equivalent of the Golden Globes, will kick off the awards season in France. As the performance halls are still closed until the end of January at least, it is impossible to maintain the ceremony within the grounds of the Olympia as initially planned. The ceremony will therefore take the form of a broadcast on set, shot in the premises of Canal +, presented by the tandem Laurie Cholewa and Laurent Weil. The prizes will be awarded by the members of the Academy, ie 13 prizes and 13 Academicians. The ceremony will be broadcast in clear and exclusively on Canal + on January 19. The American Golden Globes will take place on February 28, instead of the usual beginning of January. The announcement of the nominations is imminent.


Ceremony of Caesar 2020

The Caesars – March 12, 2021

Adaptation and reinvention also on the side of the Caesar? A new wind will blow whatever happens to the Caesars after the important reform that took place within the Academy, initiated a year ago, with the departure of Alain Terzian, president of the Academy, and the election at the start of the new school year, totally renewed and equal. Contacted, the Academy of Caesar tells us that everything will be done to maintain the date of March 12, 2021 to hold the 46th ceremony of Caesar.

If the schedule has been postponed, due to the pandemic, but also following the fundamental reorganization of the Academy, no event had to be canceled. The Cesar & Techniques award ceremony will take place at the end of January (instead of at the beginning of January) with the organization of two round tables, in addition to the opening of the envelopes of the winners which will be broadcast online. An event is also being prepared as usual around Revelations, a priori at the beginning of February, with the priority of maintaining the meeting between Revelation and its godmother or godfather. The organization of this event is still under discussion.

For each event, the Academy lets us know that it is preparing two scenarios, a plan A (with face-to-face) and a plan B (favoring distance), to adapt to the health context, and make sure not to having to cancel everything at the last moment.

Two months before the event and an uncertain context pending new government measures, it is still too early to know what form the Caesar ceremony could take. Here too, several scenarios are being studied, with the aim of maintaining an event on March 12. Nominations will be announced on Wednesday February 10, 2021.

César 2021: Roschdy Zem president, Blanche Gardin and Laurent Lafitte authors of the ceremony

The Oscars – April 25, 2021

It’s been over 50 years that the Oscars were not held so late. Like the Caesars, whose date traditionally remains fixed at the end of February – beginning of March, the American ceremony will be held in the middle of spring, on April 25, 2021, instead of February 28, 2021. as originally planned. To reimagine the ceremony, the Academy of Oscars brought in filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, who will co-produce the event. The organizers announce that this ceremony will be the “perfect opportunity to innovate and reimagine the possibilities of an award ceremony“The suspense remains on the form it will concretely take for the moment.

The films of this 93rd edition will be eligible until February 28, 2021, provided they are released in theaters between January 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. This condition has always been in effect for the Oscars but usually the deadline is set for December 31.


The Parasite team at the Oscars 2020

The 2021 Cannes Film Festival – May 11 to 22, 2021

When we think of the Oscars, we of course think of Cannes and its 2019 edition which propelled Parasite, which became the big winner of the awards season, with the Oscars therefore at the peak. In this context of a continuing pandemic, what about the biggest festival in the world? How Cannes plans to cope with the pandemic, after having had to cancel its 2020 edition in its usual form? For the record, an official selection was nevertheless unveiled at the beginning of June 2020, with a system of “Cannes Label” and a brief and symbolic physical edition was held this fall a few days before the announcement of a reconfinement (in addition to ‘an online market in June 2020).

In 2021, Thierry Frémaux is betting on a “classic configuration“, ruling out any idea of ​​having a virtual event.”The Cannes Film Festival is a living spectacle. A festival is a living spectacle in itself. It was never intended for us to do it online“, he explained this week to our colleagues at Les Inrockuptibles.”We are working on a classic configuration in May. It would be unwise to announce it now. We will do it in January which will be crucial, one month after the vaccinations. We have already announced possible postponement dates, including one in July. (…) If Cannes has to move, it would be for health reasons and it would not be linked to Berlin. (…) We plan to be longer. Maybe two more days to try to restore something that couldn’t be shown.“The Festival therefore leaves itself a little time before communicating officially, in order to take into account the health situation.


Gustave Kervern and Benoit Delépine awarded at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival for “Erasing History”.

The Berlin Film Festival – March 1-5, 2021

Before Cannes, Berlin is the main international film festival to be held traditionally in winter. This year, the Berlinale has already announced that it has given up on a classic edition: the competition will be held online due to the health situation, and this a little later than usual, from March 1 to 5, 2021. Screenings open to the public will also be organized in June.

Gérardmer – from Wednesday 27 to Sunday 31 January 2021

Gérardmer maintains his edition and dates but in a 100% virtual version. As its director, Bruno Barde, wrote on December 10, “in 2021, we are entering the fourth dimension by offering an entirely online festival. The health crisis forces us to this requirement.“And add:”The virtual provides an alternative to the real, conducive to fantastic cinema. This dematerialized festival will promote the creation and expression of all cinematographic forms of this genre which will be accessible in one click.

Bruno Barde indicates that all the usual sections of the festival will be well and truly represented: “the competition and its artistic challenges, the exclusive previews, the offbeat night and its fantasy, Rétromania and its cult films, the short films and their promise of the future and the meetings with all the honored guests“. Ditto for the juries, which will again number four (the critics’ jury, the short films jury, the young jury (chaired by Pio Marmaï) and the feature film jury (chaired by Bertrand Bonello). The public will also be able to vote for their favorite film and award their prize like every year. The films will be visible via a dedicated platform, developed by Festival Scope and Shift72. The selection has just been unveiled and online registrations are already available .

Gerardmer Festival: the selection of this edition 100% online

The Clermont-Ferrand Festival – from January 29 to February 6, 2021

Like Gérardmer, other festivals must be deployed only online. The Clermont-Ferrand Festival, often presented as the “Cannes of the short film”, has also had to adapt to the health situation and has just announced that it is keeping its edition at bay. “If, fortunately, we had anticipated a long time and prepared a digital festival, we hoped until the end that it would be the national extension of a Clermont-Ferrand edition, certainly refined, but very physical. The government announcements on January 7 signaled the end of this hybrid hope: Clermont 2021 – festival as market – will be all online, “only online, write the organizers in a press release sent to the press on Monday, January 11.

And to continue: “We would be lying to you if we wrote that it is not a heartbreak for a whole team to envision an early February without the little annual miracle of the incredible crowd running the city from room to room and in which they merge with a surprisingly delighted professionals from all over the world (more than 170,000 admissions in 2020!). But at least we were ready and the good news is that, from January 29 to February 6, from all over France, and for the first time, short film aficionados and new converts will be able to attend the sessions together. festival, with or without mask, and discover films in competition chosen with passion from nearly 8,300 proposals, as well as other equally promising programs. “

Premiers plans d’Angers – January 25 to January 31, 2021

The Premiers Plans Festival in Angers must also reinvent itself, as the health context does not allow it to take place in theaters. In association with the VOD site La Cinetek, part of the programming will be available online by purchasing a pass, giving access to 12 films, from January 25 to February 24. This event, which gives pride of place to European cinema and first films, will notably feature a retrospective by filmmaker Chantal Akerman.

And also…

Many events are still uncertain. Some have chosen to move away, such as the 11th edition of the Festival 2 Cinéma de Valenciennes, initially scheduled from Tuesday March 9 to Sunday March 14, 2021 which will finally take place from Friday September 24 to Wednesday September 29, 2021. The Toulouse Cinélatino Festival is considering two scenarios ( either face-to-face or completely online). This festival, along with Valenciennes, was one of the first to have been affected last year with the announcement of confinement in March 2020. It is still too early to know how a festival like that of the comedy of Alpe d ‘Huez will be able to stand. The Festival has chosen to move from Tuesday 23 to Sunday 28 March 2021, while waiting for better days, and a horizon, we hope, more clear …

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