The 93rd Academy Awards, which had initially been scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021, has been postponed until April 25, the Academy announced on Monday.
That will be the latest date on which the Oscars have been handed out since 1932, when the eligibility year ran from August to July and the ceremony took place in November.
The vote to delay the Oscars for two months was made at a special Monday-morning virtual meeting of the Academy's Board of Governors, which made the move because of the theater closings and release-schedule changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The eligibility date for the 93rd Oscars was also extended by two months, from the usual Dec. 31 deadline to February 28. This will be the first time since the sixth Oscars in 1934 that the eligibility period will not conform to a calendar year.
Nomination voting will begin on Friday, March 5, and end on Wednesday, March 10, with nominations announced on Monday, March 15. Final voting will begin on April 15 and run through April 20.
"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 CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.
According to an individual with knowledge of the discussions, the Academy worked closely with studios and distributors and with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health in setting the new timetable.
The opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has also been delayed. It is now scheduled to open to the public on April 30, five days after the Oscars. A special Museum Gala will be held on Saturday, April 17, eight days prior to the Oscars.
The Governors Awards, which normally takes place in the fall and is devoted to three or four Honorary Oscar recipients, will not take place this year.
The board had already met last Thursday and voted on a number of initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion. It added the Monday meeting in part because so many other awards shows and industry events rely on the Oscars schedule to set their own dates.
Shows like the Golden Globes, the Critics' Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the other Hollywood guild awards are now likely to push their own schedules back to fit with the Oscars timetable.
No decisions have been made on the format of the show, and whether it will take place at the Dolby Theatre as usual or move to a virtual format.
The board already voted to loosen the eligibility requirements for the awards, allowing films that had to abandon scheduled theatrical releases to qualify even if they premiered on a streaming or video-on-demand platform. Other changes were made to documentary rules, where films can qualify this year by simply being selected for specific film festivals, regardless of whether those festivals actually take place.
In the first 92 years of the Academy Awards, the ceremonies took place in April 23 times, including frequently in the 1960s through the 1980s. But it never took place as late as April 25 in those years, with the April 18 date in 1966 being the latest in the month it had ever taken place.
March has been by far the most popular month for Oscar shows, with 47 shows taking place in the month. April is second, followed by February with 18, most of them over the last two decades.
In the early years of the Oscars, when the show did not honor films from a single calendar year, the ceremony was held once in May and three times in November.
The 2019-2020 AMPAS Board of Governors will meet one more time in June to approve new-member invitations. The incoming 2020-2021 board, which will include six new governors elected for the first time and one former governor returning after a hiatus, will meet for the first time later in the summer.
Here are the new Oscar dates, from the AMPAS press release:
The eligibility period for Academy Awards consideration has been extended beyond the standard December 31 deadline: a feature film must now have a qualifying release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. The submission deadline for specialty categories (Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Animated Short Film, 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. Visit oscars.org/rules for the complete 93rd Academy Awards rules, revised with these dates and deadlines.
Academy key dates for the 2020/2021 Oscar season are as follows:
Preliminary voting begins - Monday, Feb. 1, 2021
Preliminary voting ends - Friday, Feb. 5, 2021
Oscar Shortlists Announcement - Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021
Nominations voting begins - Friday, March 5, 2021
Nominations voting ends - Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Oscar Nominations Announcement - Monday, March 15, 2021
Oscar Nominees Luncheon - Thursday April 15, 2021
Finals voting begins - Thursday April 15, 2021
Museum Gala - Saturday, April 17, 2021
Finals voting ends - Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Oscars - Sunday, April 25, 2021
Museum Public Opening - Friday, April 30, 2021