The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has officially announced a two month postponement of the 2021 Oscars Awards ceremony due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
The eligibility period for films, previously standardised as 31 December annually, has also been extended. The new deadline is 28 February 2021. This comes after the Academy announced a temporary rule change in April that will allow films that debuted on streaming services to be considered for awards. Ordinarily, films are only eligible for Academy awards if they have been screened in a Los Angeles cinema for at least a week. However, cinema closures due to the pandemic mean this has become too restrictive as many films turn to digital debuts instead, including Disney’s Artemis Fowl which premiered on Disney+ on 12th June.
“This is a much needed boost for those films who may have been stalled in post-production,” an Academy member told Variety.
The BAFTAs – which traditionally take place two weeks before the Oscars – have also been postponed by two months. The award ceremony will now occur on 11 April 2021, and film eligibility has equally been adjusted allowing streaming service debuts to be considered.
The Academy Awards traditionally wrap up the annual awards season, and are one of the most prestigious ceremonies for people in the film industry. In the 2020 awards, the South Korean film Parasite made history as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. This is only the fourth postponement in the history of the Academy Awards after postponements due to flooding in Los Angeles in 1938, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968, and following the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981. This is the first postponement in the history of the BAFTAs. The Golden Globes, traditionally held in January, are yet to announce a date change, but postponements are expected.
The decision comes after many production companies have been pushed to delay the release of expected blockbusters, including Marvel’s Black Widow and the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, which have both been delayed until November 2020. The biggest delay so far is Universal’s Fast and Furious 9, which will be released almost a year after it was originally scheduled, from May 2020 to April 2021.
Many films have similarly had to shut down filming or postpone production due to the constraints the pandemic has placed on filming. This includes Warner Bro’s The Batman, Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion, and Disney’s live action reboot of The Little Mermaid.
In the UK, hit shows Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders have both had to delay the production of their upcoming series.
Words by Olivia Emily