In the spirit of a teacher graciously handing an extension to stressed-out students, the Oscars have looked around at the chaos currently overtaking Hollywood and decided to relax some deadlines. On Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the 2021 Oscars ceremony will be moved back to April 25, two months later than originally planned. More controversially, the eligibility period for next year’s awards will be similarly pushed, with the traditional year-end-release cutoff giving way to a new date of February 28. “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,” academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. Furthermore, the two-month delay is expected to give the organization and ABC more time to figure out what form the ceremony should take absent the development of a miracle coronavirus vaccine.
At the moment, the April ceremony is expected to be a one-time emergency move, with the subsequent Oscars returning to the familiar rhythms of the pre-COVID-19 calendar. Still, as with any special dispensation, there are some parties likely to be put out by the shift — in this case, the movies that actually have been able to come out this year, which were looking forward to an Oscars landscape where new rules meant nontraditional award contenders might have been able to earn a second look. Still, we look forward to seeing which word Billy Crystal rhymes with “April” in his musical opener.