The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that they will be postponing next year’s Academy Awards ceremony by eight weeks. Initially, the Oscars celebration was scheduled for February 28, 2021, but will now take place on April 25, 2021.
It was also indicated that the Academy is still confident that they can hold the Oscar ceremony live at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood when it comes time to happen. Previously, rumors speculated that the ceremony might got ahead with no actual attendees, just presenters, or in some form of pre-recorded fashion in order to keep with any possible social distancing requirements that might still be in effect.
Additionally, the Academy has extended the eligibility period for feature films. Originally to qualify for the 2021 Oscars a film needed to be released between January 1 2020 and December 31, 2020. This year, the Academy has extended that period to now end on February 28, 2021. It has also changed the various deadlines for submitting applications to compete in the various Academy Award categories.
Under this new Oscars season schedule, the final nominees for the Academy Awards will be announced on March 15.
The shift in the schedule is due to the ongoing choronavirus epidemic which has created issues with studios being able to plan film releases for the rest of the year due to uncertainty over when currently-closed theaters will be able to reopen and when halted-productions will be able to resume work.
This is not the first time that the Academy has shaken up its Oscar schedule due to external forces. The first was in 1938 when unexpected flooding of the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Santa Ana Rivers forced a delay of the ceremony by one week. The awards were postponed for two days in 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and were postponed just one day following the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.