But then came Sunday's Oscars - the pinnacle of awards season; the biggest night in the entertainment calendar - where nominees were encouraged to turn up in person if they could, rather than dial in virtually.
The resulting red carpet gave us elegance, flamboyance, and an explosion of colour. Here are 13 of the biggest and best looks from the 93rd Academy Awards.
1. Regina King? Regina Queen
Regina King is no stranger to the Oscars, having won best supporting actress two years ago for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk.
This year, she returned to the Academy Awards not as an actress, but as the director of One Night In Miami, which had three nominations.
The film may have gone home empty-handed, but in the absence of a host, King was chosen to open the ceremony. She welcomed viewers and went on to present the first two categories for best original and adapted screenplay.
On the red carpet, King wore a custom, pale-blue Louis Vuitton gown with bedazzled pleating and bold 1980s-style shoulders.
2. Paul and Liz Raci are couple goals
"My wife has been my agent for 20 years now and she's been in there fighting for me," the supporting actor nominee told People magazine. "My wife Liz, she'll be there with me and she's my heart."
Raised as the hearing son of two deaf parents, Raci is fluent in sign language and he both spoke and signed his answers as he talked to reporters on the red carpet.
3. Fennell turned Los Angeles into Emerald City
Two years on, Fennell found herself walking the red carpet at Sunday's Academy Awards - this time pregnant with her second child.
She looked beautiful in a voluminous floral Gucci gown, which was pink in places, but mostly green (perhaps a reference to her own first name).
4. There were touching tributes to Kobe Bryant
Martin Desmond Roe and Travon Free won best live action short for their film Two Distant Strangers. Their stylish outfits on the red carpet came complete with a touching and subtle tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
The basketball player and his daughter Gianna were two of the nine people who died in a tragic helicopter crash last January. Gianna Bryant, who was aged just 13, was a prodigiously talented basketball player like her father.
Roe and Free sported bejewelled Dolce & Gabbana pins with the numbers 24 and 2 - which were Bryant and his daughter's jersey numbers.
Shortly after his death, the Los Angeles Lakers retired the number 24 as a mark of respect to the star, who won an Oscar himself in 2018 for Dear Basketball, an animated short film he wrote and narrated.
5. Maria Bakalova knows how to enforce social distancing
The star of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm has sussed out the easiest way to abide by the two-metre rule: wear a six-metre-wide dress.
In fact, the Louis Vuitton gown she wore featured 100 metres of of tulle - a lightweight netted material - paired with a deep V neckline adorned with diamonds.
The best supporting actress nominee looked amazing as she walked the red carpet, and frankly we're just glad she finally had the chance to show off a more glamorous side.
Her role in Borat was the opposite - it involved everything from interviewing Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room to taking part in numerous gross-out scenes alongside Sacha Baron Cohen. If anyone earned a red carpet appearance this year, it's Maria.
6. The best actress nominees set a gold standard
Viola Davis (centre) looked wonderful in an Alexander McQueen dress designed by Sarah Burton, while her co-nominees Andra Day (left) and Carey Mulligan (right) both opted for high-slit golden gowns, designed by Vera Wang and Valentino respectively.
We're not sure if the pair were trying to improve their Oscars chances by dressing like one of the statuettes, or if this was one of those awkward moments where you accidentally wear the same outfit as your colleague to the office, but we applaud them either way.
Best actress was the hardest race to call this year - but the prize ultimately went to Frances McDormand for Nomadland.
7. Alan Kim is the real winner of awards season
The nine-year-old isn't just one of the breakout stars of Minari, we're going to go ahead and say he's breakout star of the entire Academy Awards.
Kim provided one of the early viral moments of the night, when he was filmed dancing on the red carpet.
He sported a stylish Thom Browne suit featuring shorts (it's quite hot in LA at this time of year) and a single striped sock, effortlessly showing some of his acting elders how it's done.
8. Celeste stole our hearts
The British singer was nominated in the best original song category for Hear My Voice, from The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Celeste walked the red carpet holding an anatomical red heart purse, supplied by Gucci (rather than a real human).
However, she lost out on the award to H.E.R.'s Fight For You, from Judas and the Black Messiah.
9. The men had varying attitudes to colourful outfits
Two of the major British acting nominees - Daniel Kaluuya and Riz Ahmed - played it fairly straight with their outfits - going for razor-sharp black and navy tuxedos.
One Night In Miami star Leslie Odom Jr took a slightly more colourful approach, wearing a golden Brioni suit, complemented with Cartier jewels.
10. Great style travels across the Atlantic
Two years ago, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman faced each other in the best actress category, with Colman ultimately winning for The Favourite. This year, they were up against each other again, for best supporting actress.
But while they might be nominated in the same category, they weren't actually on the same continent.
Close was pictured wearing a blue Armani dress in Los Angeles, while Olivia Colman wore a long-sleeve scarlet gown at the Academy's UK hub at London's BFI.
(They were both beaten to the supporting actress award by Minari's Yuh-jung Youn.)
11. Crip Camp owned the red carpet
Also on the red carpet were the stars and producers of Crip Camp, nominated for best documentary feature.
Along with Sound of Metal and Falling Through, Crip Camp was one of several nominees this year of disability.
Co-directors Nicole Newnham (second left) and Jim LeBrecht (centre) wore a beautiful cream gown and a custom-made navy blue Gucci ensemble respectively.
After they tweeted a picture from the Los Angeles red carpet, one user replied: "As a disabled teenager, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen."
And or the first time ever, this year's Oscars stage had a ramp, to make sure wheelchair users had no problem going up for their acceptance speech.
12. Chloé and Swankie shared the spotlight
Best director winner Chloé Zhao was truly the queen of this year's Academy Awards, but that didn't mean she was planning on hogging the spotlight. Instead, she walked the red carpet with Swankie, one of the stars of her film, Nomadland.
The movie has been praised for its depiction of the nomadic lifestyle, and Charlene Swankie was one of several non-professional actors who appeared in it.