The Academy Delays the 2021 Academy Awards Ceremony Until April
by Alex Billington
June 15, 2020
Wow! We break from our regular updates to bring you this news. For the fourth time in Oscar history, The Academy has announced they are postponing the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony. After debating and discussing ideas over the weekend, The Academy (AMPAS) officially announced that the "2020 Oscars" will now take place on April 25th, 2021. They were originally scheduled for February 28th, in line with recent schedule changes the last few years to have the ceremony at the end of February (before March Madness begins and takes all the attention away from the show). In addition to announcing the ceremony delay, The Academy has also revealed that the eligibility window for films will remain open until February 28th, 2021. Meaning any movie that plays in cinemas through February 2021 can be considered for 2020 Oscars. Crazy.
This announcement was made in response to the coronavirus situation that has fundamentally changed the way the entire world works over these last few months. With many film festivals cancelled, and most major releases delayed either until later this year or all the way into 2021 (due to movie theaters being closed), The Academy has responded by following suit and recognizing how much has changed. Yes, there are a handful of movies that were supposed to open this summer that are now rescheduled for 2021 (e.g. Last Night in Soho, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, In the Heights, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Jungle Cruise) but this also seems like a strategy to hold some of this almost-finished content. Since the rumblings in the industry are that not a lot of movies will go into production this year, therefore there won't be as many movies ready for 2021. So they hold some of these from 2020. But that is only some of the releases, not all of them will wait that long.
Here's the tweet from @TheAcademy officially announcing the new schedule + major dates for 2020/2021:
It's true! Next year's #Oscars will happen on April 25, 2021.
Here's what else you need to know:
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) June 15, 2020
More information available on Oscars.org. Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson state: "For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control… This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema." Let's hope. ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke adds: "We find ourselves in uncharted territory this year and will continue to work with our partners at the Academy to ensure next year’s show is a safe and celebratory event that also captures the excitement of the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures." Also in April.
This isn't the first time the Academy Awards have been delayed, for various reasons including wars and the uprising after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. But this kind of delay and rule change is a major deal in 2020. Not only as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, but also recognizing how the entire movie industry is shifting. Awards pundits say the delay reflects more on The Academy's desire to get all of the celebrities into one big auditorium for the ceremony, not as much about the movie selection because of release date delays. But then again, they are allowing two extra months of time for movies to be eligible. And allowing VOD releases (just for this year only). Which means a movie could open in early 2021 and still be considered for 2020 Oscars. So what about 2021's movies? Will they also get an extra two months to play? Who knows. Only time will tell what happens. But for now, this is the official news from AMPAS. Maybe there will no longer be that intense rush to release Oscar movies by the end of the year. What do you think?