Academy pushes 2021 Oscars to April amid coronavirus pandemic
Hollywood's biggest night delayed after film festival cancellations and theatrical shutdowns led to a downturn in original releases.
Hollywood's biggest night is getting pushed back.
After the pandemic forced Oscar-positioning film festivals to nix their yearly ceremonies and prompted studios to postpone major releases amid worldwide theater closures throughout early 2020, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has delayed the 2021 Oscars by two months. The ceremony will now take place on April 25, with further changes occurring during the run-up to the broadcast, including an extended release date eligibility window through Feb. 28 and the official nominations announcement moving to March 15.
The 93rd Oscars were initially set to be broadcast via ABC on Feb. 28, albeit with modified rules for contending titles. In April, the Academy announced it had altered eligibility requirements to accommodate movies with theatrical rollouts that had been impacted by the outbreak.
After the spread of coronavirus prompted the closure of all Los Angeles County movie theaters as of March 16, the Academy temporarily suspended a rule stipulating that a contending title must finish an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run of at least seven consecutive days (with three showings daily), and further announced that it would allow films that had previously planned a theatrical release but were forced to premiere on streaming services or VOD as a result of COVID-19-related closures would still be eligible to qualify for Best Picture under the provision that the distributor would make the film available on its member-only streaming service within 60 days of its home release.
Last year, the Oscars made history by awarding the first Korean-language film, Bong Joon Ho's Parasite — which previously premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival — with its Best Picture award, in addition to Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Renée Zellweger (Judy), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Laura Dern (Marriage Story) taking top acting honors.
Elsewhere, awards shows like the Golden Globes — which also recently announced amended eligibility rules for the 2021 season — and Screen Actors Guild Awards have yet to announce changes to their 2021 ceremony schedules.
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