Embracing streaming was a step in the right direction, but the calendar shift has given distributors an extra two months to get their big-ticket releases into cinemas
The most recent Academy Awards ceremony took place on 9 February, the earliest date in the institution’s 92-year history, as a calendar-shifting experiment that was largely not embraced by the industry. If everyone was happy enough with the outcome – which saw Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite make history as the first non-English-language film ever to win best picture – complaints were rife in Hollywood about the compressed season leading to it. Voters grumbled about not having enough time to see the films, publicists were run ragged juggling a concentrated schedule of red carpet events and interviews, and even Bong admitted to being “a shell of a human” at the end of his triumphant but intense campaign trail.
Well, be careful what you wish for. Next year’s Oscar ceremony will indeed take place later: a full two-and-a-half months later, in fact, as the Academy announced yesterday that, to accommodate a cinema release schedule stopped short by the Covid-19 pandemic, the whole shindig has been shifted to 25 April 2021. Whereas eligibility for the Oscars is usually determined by the calendar year, this season will make a one-off exception: titles released in the US between 1 January 2020 and 28 February 2021 will be able to compete for the next awards, giving voters a 14-month window of films to choose from.