The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has formally announced that they will be moving the Academy Awards ceremony into April next year. Though it’s happened a few times in its history ( due to flooding in 1938, due to the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 and the attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life in 1981) but you would have to go back to the pre-television era of the Oscars to find a rescheduling quite as drastic as that planned for 2021 – a full two months. The 93rd Academy Awards, which would have taken place on 28th February will now take place on 25th April. It also means that there will be an extended release window for which nominees will qualify for consideration (normally 31st December, now becomes 28th February 2021) and that there will be something of a split for releases over the next two ceremonies.
This is, of course, largely down to the coronavirus and the stunning effect that the COVID-19 has had on releases. Almost all the major 2020 summer releases have had to change their dates, some moving into mid-2021, largely because they weren’t finished in time or simply that there isn’t enough confidence that enough cinemas will be open to show them. Movie theatres in many US states are technically beginning to open, but with many restrictions still in place and uncertainties about the amount of precautions still needed, many chains are choosing not to open yet or to severely limit capacity and access.
Shortly after the Oscars announcement, BAFTA confirmed they are also moving their London ceremony from 1th February 2021 to 11th April with similar effects on eligibility windows.