Next year’s Oscars have been pushed back by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the 93rd Academy Awards will now take place on April 25 2021, having originally been scheduled for February 28.
And the long-awaited opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has also been postponed, from December 14 this year to April 30 next year, the body said.
Academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson said: “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. 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 penalised for something beyond anyone’s control.
“This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema.”
The Academy has also announced changes to its eligibility rules in the wake of the pandemic.
The eligibility period for Oscars consideration has been extended beyond the standard December 31 deadline.
A feature film must now have a qualifying release date between January 1 2020 and February 28 2021, the Academy said.
The submission deadline for speciality categories – animated feature film, documentary feature, documentary short subject, international feature film, animated short film and live action short film – is December 1 2020.
The submission deadline for general entry categories, including best picture, original score and original song, is now January 15 2021, organisers said.
The postponement of the Oscars raises the prospect of the other major awards shows, including Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, following suit.
Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, the network which broadcasts the Oscars, said: “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 that also captures the excitement of the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.”
This is the fourth time the Oscars have been postponed. The 10th Academy Awards were delayed due to the Los Angeles flood of 1938.
The 1968 ceremony was pushed back by two days following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and in 1981 the Oscars were delayed by a day following an assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan.
As part of the latest postponement announcement, the Academy also said the annual Governors Awards, where honorary Oscars are handed out, has been delayed to an unspecified date.
The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday April 25 2021, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.