How Has COVID-19 Changed Film Fests and Award Shows?

Photo Courtesy: APU GOMES/AFP/Getty Images

Despite countless months of wearing masks, practicing social distancing and enduring lockdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread to more people across the world. And although safety precautions have helped slow the spread of the virus, they've also thrown many businesses for a loop and disrupted entire industries — and the entertainment industry is no exception.

The novel coronavirus first made its big debut among A-listers in March of 2020 when actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, announced they'd contracted the virus while Hanks was filming in Australia. While the couple ultimately managed to overcome the illness, its impacts on the entertainment world were only ramping up.

As many major studios postponed what could have been the year's hottest movie releases, film festivals and awards shows also scrambled to figure out how to cope with the pandemic — and to keep entertaining us as the health crisis surged. While we still don't know what a post-pandemic Hollywood might look like — and probably won't for some time — we've gotten a chance to see how a globally revered industry has adapted to its new way of life.

Everything from film releases to awards shows has fallen prey to this upheaval. Some relatively disruptive changes had to be made to preserve and promote safety — just like in other industries — and the entertainment business has created and navigated pandemic-imposed adjustments with interesting solutions. Things are looking much different, and that could even lead to some surprising shifts in cultural perspectives. As the global health crisis has continued to drastically alter film festivals, awards shows and the everyday goings-on of the movie biz, we're beginning to unravel the takeaways.