Remember new movies? While the pandemic and its resulting nationwide quarantine hasn’t completely stopped the flow of films — art house titles and even a few studio blockbusters have been made available online — there aren’t as many as there once were. Most big titles, from No Time to Kill to Tenet to Wonder Woman 1984, have been delayed for a time when movie theaters will again be safe to visit. But what does that mean for next year’s Oscars?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is already considering that question. And reportedly they’re set to vote on two matters: delaying the ceremony and extended the eligibility window.
The big night has been scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021, but with no end to the pandemic in sight — and with a possible second wave en route, possibly in early autumn — the Academy’s governors are considering delaying it by as many as eight weeks. As for eligibility, the cut-off has long been at year’s end, but that may be extended, though it’s unclear to which date.
One issue that won’t be broached, at least not yet, is the format of the show: Will it be in-person or virtual? That matter will be tackled later, when we see where we are with the still rampaging coronavirus, but there’s a chance it will be the first Oscars held over Zoom.
Delaying the Oscars is not new. It’s happened three times: in 1938, in response to flooding in Los Angeles; in 1968, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; and in 1981 after the attempted assassination of then-president Ronald Reagan. The eligibility window has been extended before as well, but not since the 1934 ceremony, which covered movies released over a 17 month period, from August 1932 through December 31, 1933.
Meanwhile, another major awards show — this year’s Tony Awards — had to be rescheduled, though a new date has not been chosen.