Those Oscar fans who are on the ball enough to have a 2021 calendar at the ready might want to circle April 25 in gold. That is when the 93rd Academy Awards will air live on ABC. The ceremony hasn’t been held in April since 1988, when “The Last Emperor” won Best Picture . The last time the show was postponed was in 1981, when it took place a day later after an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. That was the year when “Ordinary People” beat out “Raging Bull.”
Blame the switch from the original date of February 28, 2021 on the coronavirus pandemic. That date is now the new deadline for films to be released. Also delayed is the opening day of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, that was supposed to open on December 14 this year. The date has been moved to April 20, 2021, also because of the ongoing health crisis.
Part of the reason for the delay is the fact that many film productions have been shut down because of COVID-19. “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times,” said academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement. “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.”
Dates also have shifted for the usual eligibility period beyond December 31. A feature film must have a qualifying date between January 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. The submission deadline for specialty categories including animated features and shorts, the documentary categories, international feature film and live action shorts is December 1, 2020. The deadline for general entry categories, including Best Picture, Original Score and Original Song is January 15, 2021.
The updated academy key dates for the 2020/2021 Oscar season are as follows:
- Preliminary voting begins Monday, February 1 2021.
- Preliminary voting ends Friday, February 5, 2021
- Oscar Shortlists announcement is Tuesday, February 9, 2021
- Nominations voting begins Friday, March 5, 2021
- Nominations voting ends Wednesday, March 10, 2021
- Oscar nominations announcement is Monday, March 15, 2021
- Oscar nominees luncheon is Thursday, April 15, 2021
- Final voting begins Thursday, April 15, 2021
- Final voting ends Tuesday, April 20, 2021