Get ready for a television eligibility mess at the upcoming winter awards

The Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards normally consider the same shows and performances for nominations, but that is not necessarily the case this year. Most film and television awards that were to be presented this winter are being pushed back to compensate for delays in production or release caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The eligibility period for the Oscars and SAG this year is January 2020 through February 2021, allowing two extra months to compete. The Globes have adopted this extended timeline for their film awards, but are sticking to the calendar year of January 2020 through December 2020 for television. The Critics’ Choice Awards are also keeping the calendar year for television.

With many shows resuming production around now, the early months of 2021 are likely to be when they return to the airwaves, so SAG could be considerably more competitive than the Globes. SAG is inherently more competitive already, with only nine categories for television, opposite 11 at the Globes. It remains to be seen whether February shows can get a fair shake from voters, with voting opening January 11. Some February shows might not even be entered, given that submissions close November 20.

SAG also has more lax eligibility rules in general. “The Good Place” aired its final five episodes in January 2020, but it would have needed to air two more episodes to meet the Globes’ minimum-runtime requirement of 150 minutes. SAG only requires that four episodes air during the eligibility period. (SAG requires six in normal years, except when it comes to final seasons, so “The Good Place” would have been eligible either way.)

Other guilds vary, with the Producers Guild requiring six episodes, but the Writers Guild only requiring one. PGA submissions were already due at this time last year and WGA submissions had been open since July, but no submission timeline for either has even been announced this year. By this time last year, the Casting Society of America had actually announced its television nominees, but it is yet to confirm a future for its awards at all.

Many industry guilds and societies had their timelines complicated this past year even before the pandemic, with the Oscars presenting February 9 — earlier in the year than they ever had been before. Many guilds cut off television eligibility early, so that programs that aired toward the end of the year did not get lost in the shuffle as voters shifted their focus to film.

This year’s Oscars will be held later than ever and in April for the first time since 1988. The Globes ceremony will now be on February 28 with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returning as co-hosts. Critics’ Choice is set to follow on March 7 with Taye Diggs returning to host, SAG on March 14 and the Oscars on April 25, almost two months later than the February 28 target that the academy had originally announced.

The American Society of Cinematographers ended eligibility for their last awards in September 2019 and are yet to announce anything for this year’s awards, so it is likely that “The Crown,” which won for both seasons that have contended thus far, will be considered jointly for its November 2019 and November 2020 seasons at the next ASC Awards. This is confirmed to be the case for “The Crown” at the Cinema Audio Society Awards, which have set television eligibility for November 2019 through December 2020.

Even the Location Managers Guild International Awards that operate away from the film awards season are using an irregular 13-month eligibility period of June 2019 through June 2020. The Art Directors Guild and Visual Effects Society are the only others that have announced their upcoming awards plans; both are maintaining the 2020 calendar year for television eligibility.

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