March 2, 2021

2021 Oscars to look different due to pandemic

(Featued image courtesy of Deadline)

The Oscars have been delayed two months to April 25, the first time it’s been delayed in 40 years. 

With quarantine and social distancing practices still in place, and movie theaters closed, the film industry is one of many that has felt the harsh effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Popular awards shows and film festivals have had to push back their dates or even cancel operations completely. 

The Oscars, otherwise known as the biggest night in film, is among the list of awards shows and festivals that have altered their dates and eligibility requirements.

The Oscars have only been postponed two times before this; once in 1968 following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King,, and once in 1981 following the attempted assassination of President Reagan. 

The Academy has also decided to extend eligibility for feature films, which can now be released as late as Feb. 28 to qualify for nomination. This extension is designed to give filmmakers more time to finish with post-production after many film productions were forced to pause amid the pandemic. 

Due to this extension and the delay of the show, the official date for the announcement of Oscar nominations has also been pushed to Mar. 15. This is a day that film lovers tend to look forward to since they can start making predictions and filling out their brackets once nominees have been confirmed. 

There has been much discussion regarding the manner in which the Oscars will be hosted in the spring, whether in the form of a completely virtual event or an in-person telecast. Several notable awards shows and festivals have already opted for a virtual showing, such as the Emmy Awards and the Sundance Film Festival. 

The Academy has been mulling over the different options for the 2021 Oscars ceremony, but are exploring the possibility of an in-person telecast similar to how the event is normally held. 

The Dolby Theater in Los Angeles where the ceremony traditionally takes place seats 3,400 people, but this number would likely be limited significantly, in addition to other restrictions and precautions, for an in-person event to take place.

There are a number of feature films that have managed to get a wide release in time for awards season, most of which have been made available on streaming since movie theaters haven’t been an accessible or safe enough option. 

Photo Courtesy of AP News

Some critically-acclaimed films that are receiving a substantial amount of Oscar buzz this year include: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), Nomadland (2020), Mank (2020), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), Promising Young Woman (2020), Sound of Metal (2019), Minari (2020), and Da 5 Bloods (2020). 

Once upon a time before COVID-19, there were several other highly anticipated films that were predicted to make quite an impact during this year’s Oscars season. However, these films have since been delayed to later dates that will qualify them for recognition next year instead, including films like Dune (2021), The French Dispatch (2021), and In the Heights (2021). 

Film lovers have been graced with an impressive line-up of films to talk about in the months leading up to the 2021 Oscars, despite the endless challenges that the film industry has faced in the past year. The future of this year’s awards season remains uncertain, but the show must go on.

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