When you think “The Oscars,” glitz, glam, and maybe even a glass of bubbly comes to mind. That is, at least, what it appears 2021 Oscars nominee LaKeith Stanfield was expecting to find when he rolled up to the award show ceremony on Sunday, April 25. He was sorely disappointed by the reality. After over a year in COVID-19 lockdown, Stanfield’s response to an underwhelming function — the Academy Awards included — couldn’t be more relatable.
Stanfield is one of the nominees, as he was tapped for his work as Bill O'Neal in Judas and the Black Messiah. Bill is the titular “Judas” character in the Shaka King-directed biopic. While Stanfield plays one of the title characters in Judas and the Black Messiah, he, along with co-star Daniel Kaluuya (the film’s “Black Messiah”), were both nominated in the Oscars’ Best Supporting Actor category. Kaluuya won the award on Sunday night. But, back in March, Stanfield brought his now-trademark irrelevant perspective to the baffling award show politics of nominating two title character actors in the same movie for the “Supporting” race. Either performer — or both — easily could have been allowed into the “Lead” category.
“I’m confused too but fuck it lmao,” he wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.
At least we can try to make sense of why the 2021 Oscars are dry, to Stanfield’s chagrin. From the jump, the show is famously less tipsy than its boozy award show sibling the Golden Globes. Traditionally, the Oscars do not have bar service at attendees’ seats (the Globes famously do), which massively cuts down on drink access. Yet, there is usually a bar in the reception area ballroom of the show, as Benoit Collard, an executive for champagne purveyor Piper-Heidsieck, confirmed to Vice in 2016.
Therefore, the 2021 Oscars may be entirely dry because of the major COVID-19 protocols enacted by the award show’s production team. Most of the show is taking place at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports, with attendees being cycled in and out of the ceremony to maintain social distancing rules. Everyone who is not inside the historically dry ceremony — and would therefore be able to mosey over to a hypothetical bar — is required to keep their PPE mask on, no exceptions. Mask-wearing and Champagne sipping do not go together. It seems likely production eliminated the Oscars bar element to keep people safe.
It’s probably for the best that Stanfield hightailed it out of the Oscars. As he joked on Instagram about his face during the ceremony, “That moment when you[r] life flashes before your eyes because you left the oven on.” If no one is handing you a free cocktail for your troubles — why even risk it?