93rd Annual Academy Awards
Major Changes for 2021
The Academy has ruled that streamed films will be eligible, and the sound categories have been merged. The Academy is grappling with shuttered movie theatres and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Films that were scheduled for theatrical release, that meet the other eligibility requirements and that are made available for Academy members to view on the organization’s members-only streaming service within 60 days of being made available on a publicly available streamer or VOD service, will be in the running. (This covers any and all films that scrapped their theatrical release due to the coronavirus crisis in favour of another method of reaching consumers).
The two sound Oscars — best sound editing and best sound mixing — have, following a period of study initiated and conducted by the governors of the sound branch, been consolidated into one, best sound (which will recognize both editors and mixers), bringing the number of Oscars that will be presented on the telecast from 24 to 23. Additionally, to be eligible for the best original score Oscar, at least 60 percent of a film’s music must be original, as opposed to “predominantly” original, the prior standard.
***Update as at 15 June 2020***
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said recently that the 93rd Academy Awards, originally scheduled for February 28, 2021, will now take place on April 25 2021 — the latest date ever since Oscar started the TV era in 1953.
Previously, the latest Oscars viewers have been able to watch was when The Sound of Music took Best Picture on April 18, 1966. It was also the first time the ceremony was telecast in color. This new date will be paired with the again delayed opening of the Academy’s new Museum of Motion Pictures, which moves from a December 14, 2020 opening to April 30, 2021. The gala opening will take place on Saturday, April 17, a week before Oscar Sunday. It is sure to be a momentous period and dizzying few days if AMPAS, coronavirus pandemic cooperating, can stick to this new timetable.
Of course, this sets a crazy course ahead for the next movie awards season. For the first time since Oscar’s earliest days, the eligibility requirements for movies is extended by two months. Movies that have a qualifying release date between January 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021 will now be able to compete in the next Academy Awards.
Submission dates for various categories are also updated due to these momentous changes. AMPAS says, however, that the intent going forward is to ultimately return to a regular calendar year. The last time there were split years was 1932-33, Oscar’s sixth year, where Fox’s Cavalcade won Best Picture.
We can now expect BAFTA, all the guild and other pre-cursor awards shows including the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards to follow suit and adjust their dates as well. The traditional fall film festival season, which traditionally kicks off the six-month movie awards season in early September at Venice/Toronto, is also likely to be affected by the actions of the Academy’s board
Future eligibility windows and the Oscar show date for 2022 will be announced at a later date, as will information regarding the 12th annual Governors Awards, which AMPAS confirms will not take place as usual this fall.
This year’s Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards presentation, which was scheduled for June 20 in Beverly Hills, has also been postponed to a later date to be determined.
Here are the key dates for the 2020-21 Oscar season:
Monday, February 1 2021
Preliminary voting begins
Friday, February 5
Preliminary voting ends
Tuesday, February 9
Oscar Shortlists Announcement
Friday, March 5
Nominations voting begins
Wednesday, March 10
Nominations voting ends
Monday, March 15
Oscar Nominations Announcement
Thursday April 15
Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Thursday April 15
Finals voting begins
Saturday, April 17
Tuesday, April 20
Finals voting ends
Sunday, April 25
Friday, April 30
Museum Public Opening
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