The 2021 Oscars Will Be Delayed

LOS ANGELES — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Monday that it would push back the next Oscars ceremony to April 25 from Feb. 28, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The postponement, the fourth since the Academy Awards were introduced in 1929, could prompt the Golden Globes and other entertainment award shows to recalibrate.

The eligibility window for best picture consideration at the coming Academy Awards was extended to Feb. 28 instead of Dec. 31. to make up for the closing of theaters between March and June. The academy did not say whether the April 25 show on ABC would involve the usual red carpet and live audience.

“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,” David Rubin, the academy’s president, and Dawn Hudson, the organization’s chief executive, said in a statement. “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year.”

The academy consulted with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in selecting a new date for the Oscars. “We find ourselves in uncharted territory this year and will continue to work with our partners at the academy to ensure next year’s show is a safe and celebratory event,” Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement.

The Oscars telecast is a big business, generating 83 percent of the academy’s roughly $150 million in annual revenue. ABC controls broadcast rights until 2028 at a cost of about $75 million a year. The network seeks nearly $3 million per 30-second commercial.

The academy also said on Monday that its Governors Awards, which is not televised and where lifetime achievement Oscars are handed out, would not take place this fall as planned. “Additional information about the ceremony and selection of honorees will be provided at a later date,” it said. The academy, which last week unveiled a new plan to promote nominee diversity (starting with the 2022 ceremony), also pushed back the opening for its long-delayed museum in Los Angeles; the nearly $400 million project, originally set to arrive in 2017, will now open on April 30.

For its part, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said on Monday that its Creative Arts Emmys, at which the majority of Emmys are awarded annually, would be held virtually in September. The main Emmys telecast remains scheduled for Sept. 20 on ABC. The television academy said that discussions were underway “regarding the format.”

It is easy to mock the annual Emmy and Oscar contests as frivolous, especially at a time when the United States is heading toward 140,000 Covid-19 deaths and demands for police reform are roiling seemingly every corner of American life. But awards do form a crucial part of the Hollywood economy. The Oscars telecast, at its core, is a colossal marketing tool — one needed more than ever, given the closing of theaters in recent months. While viewership has declined sharply in recent years, the Oscars show still attracts an audience of more than 23 million people. Pay for actors, directors, sound designers, set decorators and other film and TV workers is directly affected by wins and nominations.

Publications like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter need for-your-consideration ads to survive. Caterers, limo drivers, florists and stylists reap windfalls from awards-related events. All told, companies like Netflix, Universal, Disney and Warner Bros. spend tens of millions of dollars on award campaigns.

The pandemic has thrown a wrench into Hollywood’s awards machinery. Many art films that were scheduled for release by the end of the year are still unfinished. Tastemaker events like the Cannes Film Festival have been disrupted. (The Toronto Film Festival, the biggest of the fall festivals, will announce its plans in the coming days, a spokeswoman said.) With theaters closed, the academy said in April that streaming films, for the first time, could skip a theatrical release entirely and still remain eligible for Oscars.

  • Updated June 12, 2020

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      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

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      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

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    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

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      Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases. While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus. Some infectious disease experts were reassured by the fact that the protests were held outdoors, saying the open air settings could mitigate the risk of transmission.

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      Exercise researchers and physicians have some blunt advice for those of us aiming to return to regular exercise now: Start slowly and then rev up your workouts, also slowly. American adults tended to be about 12 percent less active after the stay-at-home mandates began in March than they were in January. But there are steps you can take to ease your way back into regular exercise safely. First, “start at no more than 50 percent of the exercise you were doing before Covid,” says Dr. Monica Rho, the chief of musculoskeletal medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. Thread in some preparatory squats, too, she advises. “When you haven’t been exercising, you lose muscle mass.” Expect some muscle twinges after these preliminary, post-lockdown sessions, especially a day or two later. But sudden or increasing pain during exercise is a clarion call to stop and return home.

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

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      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


The Academy Awards were last postponed in 1981, after the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. The ceremony was also delayed in 1968 after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and in 1938 because of catastrophic flooding in Los Angeles. Even so, April 25 will mark the latest date that the ceremony has been held since its first iteration in 1929.

A delayed Academy Awards could result in similar moves by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globes, currently scheduled for Jan. 11, and the major Hollywood guilds, each of which gives out their own trophies in the lead-up to the Oscars. Later on Monday, the EE British Academy Film Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars, were postponed to April 11 from Feb. 14.

The new timeline also means that January and February — typically cinematic dead zones — will almost certainly be stocked with Oscar-caliber films. Studios usually release their awards contenders all at once at the end of the year to remain top of mind to academy voters.

Nicole Sperling contributed reporting.

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