Doubts about the medium-term duration of the covid-19 pandemic were made clear this Monday in Hollywood with the decision by the Film Academy to delay next year’s Oscars preventively. The delay is almost two months, from the scheduled date of February 28 to April 25. Along with the Oscars, the opening of the Academy Museum in Los Angeles, which was scheduled to open in December and will now be in April, is delayed. The dates of the Oscars are decided years in advance and one of the biggest live productions of the year depends on them. With the pandemic, not only is it not clear that the gala can be held safely, but there may not even be enough released movies to reward.

The governors of the Academy made this decision in a meeting by Zoom this Monday morning, days after having indicated other changes due to the exceptional situation in an industry that cannot roll and with the cinemas closed until this week (in Los Angels can now open up to 25% of their capacity). The Oscars had already decided to exceptionally admit movies that have only been released in streaming, provided they were scheduled to be released in theaters and could not do so due to the coronavirus.

Postponing the Oscars confirms that no one is sure a blockbuster can be assembled safely for February

In addition, the period to qualify for the 2021 awards is extended to films released until February 28 of that year. Films released in theaters in the calendar year preceding the ceremony are normally only considered.

The Academy statement reflects that the industry does not have complete confidence that the situation can normalize in Hollywood in the short term. The pandemic and the closing of the cinemas have blown up all the plans of the year. The large premieres planned to compete on the Easter holidays had to be canceled, postponed, or derived to a direct streaming premiere, a forced decision that has fueled tensions with exhibitors. Those who fell behind in fall in turn forced others to delay the Christmas campaign, pushing other titles until the spring of 2021. Hollywood lives in an eventuality that keeps the entire industry on edge. All this, added to the warnings of the experts that it is very possible that there will be an outbreak of coronavirus in the autumn that will force them to take exceptional measures again.

In this context, postponing the Oscars confirms that no one is sure that a blockbuster can be assembled safely for February and that, in addition, the 2021 Easter premiere window is needed to have guarantees that at least one of the contenders It has been seen in rooms. It will be the first time in four decades that the Oscars are held later than March. The decision of the Academy also forces to reconfigure the entire season of Hollywood awards, which normally begin with the Golden Globes on the first Sunday of January and end with the Oscars, in late February or early March. All others are held in between. The first to react were the British BAFTAs, which also pushed the date back to April 11, two weeks before the Oscars.

« We will continue to work with our partners at the Academy to ensure that next year is a safe celebration. »

Karey Burke

« For more than a century, movies have played an important role in giving us warmth, inspiration and entertainment during the darkest times, » Academy President David Rubin said in a statement. “This year, of course, they have. By extending the eligibility period we hope to give filmmakers the flexibility they need to finish and release their films without penalizing something that is out of everyone’s control. ”

Karey Burke, president of the ABC network, which sponsors the Oscar ceremony, added: “This year we are in unexplored territory and we will continue to work with our partners at the Academy to make sure that next year’s show is a safe celebration ”.

In this sense, the awards gala that has to make a decision with more urgency are the Emmy Awards of the Television Academy, which are traditionally held at the end of the summer. In this case, the problem is not the lack of a new product to reward. The so-called Creative Emmys, which award dozens of technical categories, will be held virtually on September 12 and 13. For the main ceremony, the Primetime Emmys, which have become a star-studded event that rivals the film awards in recent years, is keeping the date of September 20. However, the Academy has already announced that there will be no post-award party for the first time. It is not yet clear that a traditional show can be performed and the Academy is in talks with producers to see how it can be done.