Next year’s Academy Awards telecast may be postponed because of the disruption to theatrical releases caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A story published Tuesday in the entertainment magazine Variety quotes an anonymous source who says it’s “likely” the annual awards ceremony, which is scheduled to air February 28 on ABC-TV, will be postponed.
But the source also says the details have not been fully discussed or formally proposed.
Under the rules of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the prestigious awards, films must be released in traditional theaters before December 31 to be eligible for Oscar nominations. But with thousands of theaters across the country shut down because of the pandemic, many feature films slated for traditional release are now debuting on streaming digital services such as Netflix, which has prompted the Academy to change its rules to allow for those films to be nominated.
“It makes sense when we don’t really know what’s to come in terms of the availability of theatrical exhibition,” Academy president David Rubin told Variety when the new rules were announced. “We need to make allowances for this year only and during this time when theaters are not open so great film work can be seen and celebrated.”