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The year entertainment went radically off-script

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The year started out like any other, with a parade of awards shows that culminated with Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” making history by being crowned best picture at the Academy Awards.

It was one of the last normal nights in Hollywood, and well, everywhere.

Multiplexes and movie palaces shut down, Broadway stages went dark, red carpets remained rolled up and stars stayed home as the coronavirus pandemic ground life to a halt.

But creativity and entertainment were not extinguished. Celebrities spoke directly to fans from their homes, and in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, joined protesters in the streets to push for change.

Cramped carpets and fashion runways morphed into social-distanced events, with air kisses and stylish masks becoming the go-to accessory.

Associated Press photographers around the world chronicled the shift, donning PPE and taking a few extra steps back for portraits. For some shoots, like John Legend, a pool created safe distance. For Norah Jones, it was her living room window. And some stars, like Mickey Guyton, turned the camera on themselves for photo shoots.

As the crisis stretched on, ingenuity and careful planning led to a return of some events, like Italy’s successful hosting of the Venice Film Festival in September.

Drive-in theaters hosted concerts, fashion shows returned — reimagined. So did awards shows, heavily altered by virus precautions.

Loss was a persistent theme of the year, with Chadwick Boseman and Naya Rivera among the stars who died unexpectedly.

The year draws to a close without a clear sense of when the carpets will be back out, theaters will be full again and the cheers of live audiences will return.

2020 will be long remembered not only for its upheaval, but the creative and resilient spirit that kept the entertainment world alive.

 

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