The 2022 Sundance Film Festival was one of the latest events to turn virtual due to the recent surge of Covid-19 cases around the country. This festival has been held in Utah since 1978 recognizing both American and international independent films.
In a statement released in January, Sundance said, “Our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds. But with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk.”
Todd Barnes, professor in the School of Communication, Media, and the Arts (SCMA), wrote and directed a film entitled “The Locksmith” (originally “Homewrecker”) that was honored at the 2010 festival.
“I got to give a speech on stage. And I keep the trophy in my office to this day. It was a completely delightful experience for me personally,” said Barnes.
Even though he was in attendance during a pre-pandemic style festival, Barnes had some mixed feelings about the whole ordeal.
“I can also see how silly the whole thing was. I must admit, I only cared about my own category and left after the announcement,” said Barnes.
In addition to film, the music industry has faced some setbacks. The Grammy Awards have now been postponed for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.
The 2021 Grammy Award show, originally set for January, was held in person at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021. Likewise, the 2022 show has been postponed to April 3.
“I feel like postponing it a few months has little to no effect long term. If anything, changing the date of the Grammys would only make consistent audience viewers less interested,” said sophomore Kayla Goncalves.
Other award shows have experienced the same Covid-related postponements. The Oscars were pushed from Feb. 27 to March 27, and the CMT Awards from April 3 to an unannounced date.
Many award show fans still crave in-person shows.
“I think the best part is being able to get on a stage and thank everyone you love. And you are so proud of what you accomplished that you just want to show it off,” said sophomore Emily Williams.
The shiny trophy is not the only thing celebrities get to show off. A huge element of in-person shows consist of the red-carpet premiere. Stars dress to impress as they strut past flashing cameras, reporters and fans.
Fashion for celebrities at these award shows have looked a little different since the pandemic. With many opting to go virtual, there is less urgency for glammed out wardrobes and accessories.
In an interview with Vogue Magazine, designer Micaela Erlanger said, “Typically, we would be prepping months in advance, working with couture collections or with custom designs, and flying all over the world for fittings. This year, however, that is not the case.”
The absence of fashion in pandemic-style shows can certainly dim the interest of viewers.
“In these virtual shows, celebrities are seen from the chest up. So, I don’t think that they would be wearing the same outfits to the red carpet as they would to sit on their couch,” said sophomore Jenna Seggio.
While the public can look forward to more in-person award shows in the coming months, no one can predict the future of the next few years given the continued uncertainty of the pandemic.
“I don’t think it’s going to go one way or another. I think it’s going to go back and forth for a while. Just look at how many things have changed in the past two years. I mean, anything is possible,” said sophomore Hannah Mance.