The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to push back next year’s Oscars ceremony by two months.
With the coronavirus pandemic pausing the majority of new film releases since March, the decision was made to move the awards to 25 April. The eligibility period has also shifted from the end of December to the end of February.
“For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times.,” said Academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson in a statement. “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.”
Karey Burke, the president of ABC entertainment, said she hopes to make the ceremony “a safe and celebratory event” during this “uncharted territory”.
The opening of the Academy’s much-delayed museum will also move from December to April. The projected cost of the museum is estimated to be around $482m.
“With the unprecedented and devastating pandemic happening around the world and our commitment first and foremost to the health and safety of our visitors and staff, we have made the difficult decision to wait a few more months to open our doors,” museum director Billl Kramer said.
Earlier this year, the Academy also announced that streaming films without a theatrical release would also be eligible for the first time, as long as a big screen bow had been planned.
The news arrives just days after the Academy announced a new phase of equity and inclusion initiatives. From 2022, the best picture category will include 10 films, rather than a fluctuating number from year to year, and a taskforce has been set up to ensure new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility.
“While the Academy has made strides, we know there is much more work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board,” said Hudson. “The need to address this issue is urgent.”
Films that had been expected to make a showing at next year’s Oscars include Steven Spielberg’s take on West Side Story, Ron Howard’s adaptation of JD Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy, Aretha Franklin biopic Respect and David Fincher’s Mank, based on the life of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz.
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