According to Variety, an industry insider says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will likely postpone the 2021 ceremony due to the uncertainty over the global health crisis. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stressed the decision has not been finalized and there is still no word on a potential new date.
Another individual with knowledge on the matter tells a different story, however, insisting the original plans for the Feb. 28, 2021, broadcast have been unchanged.
The news comes less than a month after the Academy announced it was breaking with tradition next year by allowing streaming-only films to be eligible for nominations. Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said the one-time exception was in response to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns, which effectively closed down movie theaters and paused all movie productions.
"The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules," Rubin and Hudson said in a statement. "The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever."
Many films that were slated to hit the big screening over the past few months have either been pushed back or released on VOD. Marvel's Black Widow, A Quiet Place Part 2, No Time to Die, Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, and the ninth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise are among the major movies that have been delayed due to the global pandemic. Though most of these films have received new premiere dates, uncertainty continues to loom over the film industry. Could a second COVID-19 wave extend lockdowns and effectively force theaters to stay closed, productions to remain suspended, and potentially squash the upcoming awards season?
As of Tuesday, the Toronto International Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival are still scheduled to go down in September, while organizers for the New York Film Festival, which is also slated for September, said they will make a decision about this year's event early in the summer.