Oscars delayed due to pandemic, last year’s relaxation to continue

The Oscars have been deferred for a second consecutive year, and relaxed eligibility rules allowing films to skip movie theaters will be kept in place due to the pandemic, the Academy said Thursday. The 94th Academy Awards will now take place on March 27, 2022, exactly a month later than originally planned, and are set to return to their traditional venue at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

After ratings nosedived for this year’s unusual, pandemic-affected Oscars, which were held at a Los Angeles train station the postponement avoids potentially costly clashes with the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics.

The impact of Covid-19, which transformed Hollywood’s award season last year, shuttering movie theaters, delaying dozens of major films, and forcing many ceremonies to go online, also continues to be felt.

Traditionally the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires at least a seven-day run in Los Angeles theaters for movies to be eligible for Hollywood’s biggest prize.

With big screens closed, those rules were relaxed last year, in what was widely seen as a boost for movies on streaming platforms. “This year, which is still impacted by the pandemic, eligibility requirements for the 94th Academy Awards will be consistent with the addendums made for the 93rd Awards season,” said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a statement.

The Academy’s decision to uncertainty could cause other major Hollywood award ceremonies to follow suit in a domino effect. But NBC has already announced that next year’s traditional season-opening Golden Globes will not be broadcast due to an ongoing row over the organizers’ record on assortment and transparency.

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