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In a surprising move, Deadline claims the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is considering moving the Oscar telecast to January. Word is that the Board of Governors is meeting tonight to discuss just that possibility.
This seems like a bad move. The Oscars already have a tough time connecting with viewers, since so many of the normally nominated limited release movies haven’t hit smaller markets by the time of the telecast. By putting the broadcast in January, even fewer of the nominates movies will have been seen by a wider audience.
It’s also potentially bad news for the Golden Globes. The move, if it happens, would put the Oscar telecast in direct conflict with the annual awards of the Hollywood Foreign Press, this year scheduled for January 16th. Normally there’s a month or two gap between the two awards, but now that will be gone. You have to wonder if this is some sort of Oscar strategy to force out the Globes, their only real awarding competition. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to sit through two of these ceremonies in the same month and, if we’re only picking one, everyone is picking the Academy Awards.
This could make even bigger problems for Oscar voters. In the past they had till the end of the year to see everything and hand in their ballots. Last year ballots weren’t due last year until January 21st, giving the Academy months to tally everything up and figure out who won. Now those voters will almost certainly have to hand their ballots in, at the latest, before the end of December. That means they’ll be voting on movies which haven’t been released, at all, anywhere. It also means less time for the Academy to compile everything. Maybe they’ll have to work out some sort of punch card system. Hanging chad controversy at the Academy Awards? I can’t wait.