The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is aware of this being an especially odd time for the film industry. As a result, the Academy made the unprecedented move last month to allow movies originally planned for a theatrical release to still be eligible for the 2021 Oscars.
This allows films that end up on streaming as a result of the pandemic to not be penalized. However, at the time, the Academy made it clear this was only for the 2021 Oscars. The new rule will also only apply until theaters reopen. However, in some parts of the country, that could be months away.
Oscar 2021 In Jeopardy!
Now, per Variety, the entire 2021 Oscars ceremony is in jeopardy, at least as it’s planned now. Sources say “It’s likely they’ll be postponed.” However, ABC has yet to change the current date, February 28, 2021.
Additionally, plans aren’t set in stone yet, and a new date hasn’t even been talked about at this point. It’s also unknown how a potential delay might effect eligibility for certain movies.
The Academy in a Very Unique Position
Though the Oscars are nine months away, the Academy is in a unique position. Even if it is theoretically safe to hold the ceremony at that point, it may not make sense to do so.
For one, the Oscars involve not only a large number of people attending the show, but also hundreds of individuals working behind the scenes, making them a particular challenge.
Additionally, it’s impossible to know what the film industry will look like at that point and how many films will be eligible. It could result in a scenario where even the winners feel disappointed by the inadequate competition, which is an outcome no one in Hollywood wants.
Provided the Oscars are in fact postponed, it will likely set a precedent for other awards ceremonies as well.