Oscars Delayed Two Months, to Late April - Eligibility Period Extended Through February

Oscars Delayed Two Months, to Late April - Eligibility Period Extended Through February”

While the Academy previously stated that the 93rd Academy Awards will be held on February 28, 2021, the latest press release on Friday did not mention a date for the ceremony.

In a statement, Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said: "For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times".

The move comes after years of criticism over a lack of diversity among the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' members, and among the Oscar nominees and winners they select. 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 penalised for something beyond anyone's control. The show, which will air live on ABC, was originally scheduled for February 28, 2021.

This means Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have a little extra time to release a film that could be nominated for a 2021 Oscar. The submission deadline for specialty categories, such as Animated Feature Film and Documentary Feature, is December 1, while the submission deadline for general entry categories, like Best Picture and Original Song, is January 15, 2021.

The Oscars has only been delayed three times before - due to LA flooding in 1938; after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in 1968; and following the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Now, in order to qualify for awards, feature films must be released between January 1, 2020 and February 28, 2020 For worldwide and animated features, documentaries, and short films, the deadline is December 1, 2020.

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The move will certainly be the first of many as the guilds and precursor film-awards groups shuffle their dates to line up the season, which has been shut down by COVID-19.

In addition, beginning with the 94th Academy Awards in 2022, there will be 10 Best Picture nominees, rather than a fluctuating number of nominations from year to year. Last Wednesday, it was announced that Selma director Ava DuVernay was among six new members elected to the board of governors. This will reportedly include changes to address representation issues among its own membership, as well as changes to the Oscars eligibility rules.

In arriving at its decision to reschedule the Oscars, the academy consulted with studios and distributors about how much time they needed to get films ready for release and also worked closely with the Los Angeles Department of Health, which advised pushing the date as far out as possible given the lingering uncertainty over the progression of the pandemic. "In our efforts to increase representation, we are working to create new industry standards, add new voices to our Board of Governors and expand the Best Picture category".

"Academy leadership and our Board are committed to ensuring that we continue to weave equity and inclusion into the fabric of every Academy initiative, committee, program and event".

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