The Academy Awards Likely to Be Postponed, Eligibility Window Extended Due to COVID-19 Shutdowns

As the theater industry continues reeling from extended coronavirus-related shutdowns, it's increasingly likely the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will vote to delay the 2021 Academy Awards. In a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, the 54 governors involved in the Academy are expected to delay the annual awards gala by as much as eight weeks, pushing the show back into April or May of 2021. Furthermore, it's expected the Academy will also extend the eligibility window beyond the traditional December 31st cut-off.

The trade reports that it's unknown if the ceremony will still be held in the normal fashion or if the organizers behind the event will opt to do a virtual event, similar to what they do every year with the Oscar nominations. As it stands now, the event is currently scheduled to take place on February 28, 2021, while being broadcast live on ABC. The Academy has since secured a new "hold date" with the network should the show be delayed.

It wouldn't be the first time the Academy delayed the event. Should the 2021 Oscars be delayed, it'd be the fourth such occurrence behind flooding in Los Angeles in 1938, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Academy heads David Rubin and Dawn Hudson previously offered support for exhibitors, offering a statement reiterating support for their partners. “The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater," the two previously said. "Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever."

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The vast majority of movies with release dates scheduled from March through June have been delayed until later in the year. The next wide release currently scheduled is Disney's Mulan on July 24. Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated Tenet had previously been scheduled for July 17th, though Warner Brothers recently delayed it to the last weekend in July in hopes more theaters would be reopened by the time.

Do you think the Oscars should be delayed next year? Why or why not? Think it over and let us know your thoughts in the comments section!