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Academy delays Oscars ceremony to March 2022, giving films 10 months of eligibility

DEAN TREML | AFP | Getty Images

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday that it plans to delay next year’s Oscars ceremony by a month to March 27, 2022. The show was originally set to take place on Feb. 27, 2022.

In order to be eligible for the awards, films must be released between March and December of this year. This narrows the eligibility window for films to 10 months, unlike the usual 12 months of eligibility.

This comes after the academy was forced to delay its 2021 awards show from February to April due to the coronavirus pandemic. The academy had also delayed the window of eligibility for this year’s award show to Feb. 28. That decision allowed movies such as “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” to be considered for this year’s awards.

The academy’s board voted on Wednesday to approve an exception made for this year’s award season regarding movie eligibility to apply for the 2022 awards as well. This decision will allow films that were supposed to be released in theaters, but were instead released for on-demand home viewing because of coronavirus-related theater closures to be eligible for an Academy Award.

Under normal circumstances, the academy requires films to run in a commercial theater in one of six qualifying cities three times a day for at least seven consecutive days. One of the screenings is required to be between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m on each of those days. The cities are Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.

This exception also includes drive-in theaters, where the film must be shown at least once a day for seven consecutive days.

The film is not required to be available on the Academy Screening Room’s member-only streaming site as per usual rules. But, it must follow all other eligibility requirements in the academy’s rule book.

The nominees for next year’s show will be announced on Feb. 8, 2022.

During this year’s Oscars, the top prize went to “Nomadland.” Its director, Chloe Zhao and leading actress, Frances McDormand, also took home trophies. But ratings for the show, which aired on ABC, fell to all-time lows. By delaying the show until late March, the ceremony will avoid other top audience draws like the Winter Olympics and the National Football League’s Super Bowl, which both take place in early to mid-February 2022.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.


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