The Academy's Board Of Governors Meet To Discuss The Likely Delay Of 2021 Oscars Ceremony

The 2021 Oscars could possibly be delayed in one of the few times in the prestigious award's 93-year history. The board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are meeting today to discuss potentially postponing the date of the 2021 Oscars ceremony, which has long been scheduled for February 28. But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic obstructing the releases of many potential Oscar contenders this year, the 93rd Oscars ceremony may be delayed as long as eight weeks.

Four days after game-changing diversity measures were passed and the 10-film Best Picture field was locked, the Academy's governors board is meeting to discuss the potential delay of the 2021 Oscars date, according to The Hollywood Reporter. THR reports that the board is meeting today, after months of speculation that the 2021 Oscars may be delayed due to the lack of nominees, due to coronavirus release delays, or even canceled next year altogether.

THR reports that the Academy's 54 governors are "likely to delay the ceremony's date by as many as eight weeks" from its planned February 28 date, pushing it to March or even April. This would be the first time the awards ceremony was pushed back since the Oscars were postponed by a few days after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The board is also discussing whether to extend the eligibility window for competing films beyond December 31, 2020, amid a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country since states have re-opened from lockdown, and an expected "second wave" in cases before the year's end. Despite that, theaters that have been shuttered since mid-March are planning to re-open in July, and film and TV productions are slowly getting back to work. But despite the restarting of Hollywood, we will still likely see many more release delays as studios debate whether audiences will turn up at the box office. That, and prestigious film festivals where many Oscar contenders gain buzz, are still unlikely to be held outside of the virtual realm.

The governors are not yet expected to determine the format of the ceremony, i.e. whether it will be held in-person or virtually. But they will need to deliver a new date to their broadcasting partner, ABC. The board must also decide when to hold the 12th annual Governors Awards ceremony, a separate event usually hosted in the second week of November that presents honorary Oscars. THR reports that the honorees could be announced in September, but presented their prizes via telecast.

The Oscars aren't the only awards ceremonies affected by the pandemic. The 2020 Tonys is considering cancelation as Broadway remains dark, while the the Emmys have shuffled around deadlines and eligibility rules to make its September 2020 date. But if the biggest night in the movie industry gets pushed back, it may only be a matter of time before other awards ceremonies follow.