The Academy’s Board of Governors is set to meet on Monday with the most pressing question being the delay of the 2021 Oscars ceremony.
That next year’s Oscars ceremony is going to be delayed sounds like a no-brainer. An eight week delay doesn’t seem like too big a deal. After all, we’re still amid a pandemic so there’s no telling whether massive gatherings of this nature will be allowed. Will other organizations follow suit? So far, Critic’s Choice, BAFTA, or the Golden Globes have yet to make any kind of an announcement. If Oscar moves or makes changes, look for these groups to do something.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s turn to the most problematic part of what’s expected. This is that the mere possibility of extending the deadline into 2021. I’m against this and I know from Twitter that I’m not alone.
I don't like this idea. There are plenty of very good films coming out this year — many of which are exactly the kinds of films Oscar *should* be honoring but rarely does. https://t.co/AsjkN2xPsp
— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) June 15, 2020
It's pretty rich that in this moment, approximately twelve seconds after critics say "This new Spike Lee movie is amazing and Delroy Lindo gives an Oscar-worthy performance," the next thing we hear is "uuuuuuuhhhhh THIS IS AN EMERGENCY WE NEED TO MAKE THIS YEAR LONGER!"
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) June 15, 2020
What’s most intriguing–as Mark Harris rightfully points out–is such talk comes on the very weekend that Da 5 Bloods was released. The new Spike Lee film is a bonafide awards contender with Delroy Lindo and Jonathan Majors drawing critical acclaim for their role. There are a few films so far that are worthy of contention and they might not have been considered in prior years. One such film is The Vast of Night–I fell in love during Slamdance last year. There are certainly others if you look and find them.
I think the bigger thing that we have to think about is what happens if theaters don’t reopen in the larger markets. We’re still in the first wave of Covid-19. It is a real possibility that larger markets do not open for a while. Maybe not even until next year. Nobody knows. Both Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 are sitting on another delay. I don’t know about you but I’m in no rush to get back to a theater while cases are still rising. No word yet on Toronto but as of now, the border between the US and Canada remains closed. The lack of fall festivals serving as launch pads is the most telling. Oscar contenders depend on the buzz from audiences. With no audience, there will be no buzz. It’s this simple.
While the Oscars will probably take place eight weeks later, it’s a bad idea to extend the deadline into 2021.