The next Academy Awards ceremony has been shifted from Feb. 28 to April 25, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC Television Network announced in a statement on Monday.
The film academy and the broadcast network said the eligibility window for feature-length films vying for nominations at the 93rd annual event will extend to Feb. 28, 2021 instead of the original deadline of Dec. 31, 2020.
"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," academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement.
"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,” Rubin and Hudson added.
Karey Burke, the president of ABC Entertainment, added: “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.”
The academy also said the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, initially scheduled to open to the public on December 14, 2020, will now open on April 30, 2021, also due to COVID-19.
It was not immediately clear whether the 93rd Academy Awards would be an in-person or virtual ceremony, in addition to other questions about its format and structure.
The other major entertainment awards shows — including the Emmys, the Golden Globes and the Tonys — are also grappling with uncertainty related to the global public health crisis.
The move comes days after the academy announced that, starting next year, films will be required to meet "representation and inclusion standards" to qualify for awards.
The academy did not provide specifics on the new eligibility standards. The group said in a news release that it will form a task force of industry leaders to "develop and implement" the standards by the end of July.