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The 93rd Academy Awards were supposed to be held on Feb. 28, 2021, before the coronavirus pandemic spread around the globe, shutting down Hollywood film sets and emptying movie theaters.
The ceremony will now be held on April 25, with nominations announced on March 15. The eligibility period for films to compete will also be extended to Feb. 28.
“Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.
The Oscars are traditionally seen as the capstone of the glitzy awards season, and it was not immediately clear how the decision might affect other shows or studios’ decisions on when to release their prestige films.
Variety reported on May 19 that the Academy had been holding discussions on whether to postpone the event.
With limits on large events in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, it had seemed unlikely Hollywood’s night of nights would go ahead in normal fashion. The Oscars are always a highly attended event, with more than 3,400 people seated in the Dolby Theatre, where the awards ceremony has taken place since 2002. In addition to the movie stars and their guests, hundreds of members of the media, security, and other personnel also work behind the scenes of the Oscars telecast.
In April, the Academy also amended its eligibility rules because of the coronavirus by putting a temporary hold on the requirement that films must run in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County for a minimum of seven days in order to be considered. It said that films that are released digitally without playing in theaters due to the pandemic can qualify for the Oscars, as long as the streamed movie originally had a planned theatrical release. When movie theaters are allowed to reopen, the seven-day requirement will return.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Rubin and Hudson said in a statement at the time. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”