The first Academy Awards — also known as The Oscars — was held on May 16, 1929, according to The Los Angeles Times. Since then, the ceremony (minus a few exceptions) has taken place anywhere between February and April. The 92nd Oscars in 2020, for instance, were held on Feb. 9, and in 2019, it aired on Feb. 24. As for the 93rd ceremony, it was scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.
To many Oscar buffs’ dismay, however, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in June 2020 that the 94th ceremony will now be held on April 25, 2021. It marks “the latest date ever since Oscar started the TV era in 1953,” Pete Hammond reported for Deadline. The upside? “Movies that have a qualifying release date between January 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021, will now be able to compete in the next Academy Awards,” per the outlet. Some might argue this move will foster a more interesting and competitive selection process, although it remains to be seen how everything will play out.
So why did the 2021 Oscars get pushed back? As it turns out, the reasoning makes perfect sense.
The Academy wants to give filmmakers a fair shot
As fans have probably noticed, many film and TV productions have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and safety concerns. Keenly aware of this situation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson releasing the following statement on June 15, 2020, per Variety: “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. 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.”
They added, “This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema.”
Then there’s the issue of how the ceremony will take place, which as of this writing, remains undecided. “We find ourselves in uncharted territory this year and will continue to work with our partners at the Academy to ensure next year’s show is a safe and celebratory event that also captures the excitement of the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement, according to the outlet.
In the meantime, film aficionados can rewatch the 2020 ceremony, which included Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite winning Best Picture.
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