The movie industry currently finds itself between a rock and a hard place due to health concerns facing the globe. Planned releases cannot be shown on the big screen due to the closures of movie theaters. As the theatrical business could be looking at billions in losses, many studios are opting to drop some of their titles straight to VOD and streaming. Looking ahead, some changes could be made to award season too.
On Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science’s board of directors met via Zoom to discuss some changes to the 2021 ceremony. In light of the circumstances, the Academy has decided to forgo the usual requirement for movies eligible for the Oscars to be screened for at least one week in Los Angeles. Also, movies that do not receive a theatrical run in 2020 (such as Trolls World Tour or The King of Staten Island) are qualified to be recognized at the 93rd ceremony.
With many of this year’s films receiving pushed release dates, The Hollywood Reporter asked Academy CEO Dawn Hudson if the Oscars could extend the deadline of its eligible films as well. It has happened before, as back in 1933, there was no ceremony. Instead, there were 16 months placed between the 1932 and 1934 show. In Hudson’s words:
We are in week seven of this stay-at-home order, so we have been considering everything for an awards ceremony scheduled for 10 months from now, which seems like four lifetimes from now, since each week feels like a year during this pandemic. So we'll continue to assess that.
In other words, the Academy is taking things one day at a time – as many businesses are. The situation is developing at a different pace week by week, and the Academy CEO is holding off on pushing back the ceremony unless it absolutely has to. The 93rd Oscars is currently scheduled to happen on Sunday, February 28, 2021.
However, there are a few factors facing the industry right now to keep in mind. Many films rely on film festivals to gain traction and later earn a nomination from the Academy. The most recent Best Picture winner, Parasite, first got on voters' radars in May 2019 at France’s Cannes Festival. This year’s Cannes festival that was set to take place this summer has already been cancelled.
SXSW was already cancelled as well, and eyes are now on the uncertainty of September’s Venice and Toronto film festivals. Another example is Todd Phillips’ Joker, which scored two Oscar wins and nine other nominations, and first made waves at Venice.
Even if movie theaters do open up in the coming months, AMC Theatres is currently vowing not to show any of Universal’s films, following its decision to release more films straight to VOD following Trolls World Tour’s drop in April. If that holds, it could pose uneven exposure for certain movies.
It’s clearly a complicated year for movies. What do you think? Should the Oscars push back its ceremony in 2021? Vote in our poll below and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more developments.