The Oscars are moving back to late February, and this is absolutely the right call

The Oscars are on the move again: The 2021 and 2022 ceremonies will move back to the last Sunday in February, the academy and ABC announced Tuesday. Next year’s ceremony will remain on the previously announced date of Feb. 9, 2020, the Oscars’ earliest show ever.

The 93rd Oscars will air on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021; the 94th, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.

The change is a return to the Oscars’ usual domain in the last weekend of February, where the show first moved to in 2004 from its previous slot at the end of March.

Last summer, among a sea of changes that have since been nixed, the academy shifted the Oscars up two weeks to Feb. 9, 2020, further constricting the awards calendar. The BAFTAs and the Super Bowl, for example, will air on the same night next year, Feb. 2. The ripple effect extended to non-film awards shows as well because the earlier Oscars date is the same weekend the Grammys are usually held; the recording academy moved its ceremony to Jan. 26 next year and also shrunk the eligibility window — all because of the Oscars.

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So needless to say, all of these other groups and guilds are probably breathing a sigh of relief that the Oscars are going back to their old stomping grounds. The award season is long and hectic enough as it is, and to further shorten it would only add more chaos and stress. You can debate if the show should be even later, but its temporary new date in 2020 was just hellish all around. And on a purely awards level, it gives underdog contenders even less time to build up support on the campaign trail and for voters to watch everything.

Plus, the earlier Oscars date was never going to work during Winter Olympic years anyway. Since the Oscars relocated to February, the show has also moved to the first weekend of March during Olympic years to avoid the closing ceremonies. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will run from Feb. 4 through Feb. 20.

The academy and ABC cited the Olympics, the Super Bowl and national holidays as the reasons for the move back to the end of February. But all of these dates were already known last year when the academy approved the switch: Super Bowl dates are scheduled out through 2024 and President’s Day is always the third Monday in February.

The academy also revealed its calendar for next season. It is as follows:

Governors Awards — Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019
Preliminary Voting Begins — Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
Preliminary Voting Ends — Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019
Nominations Voting Begins — Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020
Nominations Voting Ends — Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020
Oscar Nominations Announcement — Monday, Jan. 13, 2020
Oscar Nominees Luncheon — Monday, Jan. 27, 2020
Finals Voting Begins — Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020
Finals Voting Ends — Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020
92nd Oscars — Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020

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