16 Jun 2020

Oscars delayed due to movie industry coronavirus chaos

11:31 am on 16 June 2020

The 2021 Oscars ceremony has been moved to April from February due to the havoc caused in the movie industry by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Oscar awards - Academy awards

It is the fourth time in the 93-year history of the awards that the date has been changed. Photo: 123rf

The event for film's highest honours will take place on 25 April 2021, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement. It had originally been scheduled for 28 February.

The coronavirus epidemic shut down movie theatres worldwide in mid-March and brought production of films to a halt.

The Academy also extended the deadline by which movies must be released in order to be eligible for an Oscar nomination to 28 February 2021 from 31 December 2020.

"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," Academy president David Rubin and Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement.

The production shutdown meant that many filmmakers feared their movies would not be finished by the usual year-end Oscar eligibility deadline. Dozens of other movie releases have been moved to 2021.

It was only the fourth time in the 93-year history of the Academy Awards that the date has been changed; in 1938, due to floods in Los Angeles, in 1968 because of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and in 1981 after the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan.

The new date for the Oscars is expected to prompt the Golden Globes and other award shows to also reschedule their events.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) on Monday said it was shifting its film awards ceremony to 11 April from 14 February.

Hollywood movies were last week given the green light to resume production in the Los Angeles area with detailed guidelines on social distancing and frequent testing. However, most are not expected to resume until September.

Hollywood hopes the big movie theatre chains will reopen by late July, when thriller Tenet and Mulan are due to be released.

- Reuters

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