The 2021 Oscars Might Be Postponed Because of COVID-19
Though February 2021 is 100 years away in quarantine time, the 93rd Academy Awards might be postponed, according to a report in Variety. It's an unprecedented move, and one that could expand the field of eligible movies, and hurt the chances of current Best Picture frontrunners, Sonic the Hedgehog and Trolls: World Tour.
"It's likely they’ll be postponed,” an unnamed person told the trade publication about the Oscars, which is currently still planned to air on Feb. 28, 2021. Variety:
However, that person cautioned that the details, including potential new dates, have not been fully discussed or formally proposed yet. Another source says the date is currently unchanged at ABC.
The movie industry is currently reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. With theaters closed, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a temporary rule allowing films that did not air in a movie theater to be eligible for awards. Previously it was required that a film must have been given a seven-day theatrical release in Los Angeles County to be qualified for an Oscar.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement announcing the temporary rule change in April. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”
Given how many films have pushed their release dates to late 2020 or 2021, it's hard to blame the Academy for thinking along these lines. In addition to the possibility that social distancing measures are still in place by winter, this could give the industry and voters more time to see the delayed movies, and give them adequate time to plan the Shrek 20th anniversary tribute.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.