Oscars and BAFTAs both postponed until April 2021

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Joaquin Phoenix poses in the Winners Room during the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 at Royal Albert Hall on February 02, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
Joaquin Phoenix at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 (Credit: Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Both the 2021 Oscars and the BAFTAs have been postponed, in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Following a meeting of the governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences yesterday, it was agreed that the biggest night in the movie business calendar should be delayed for two months until 25 April, 2021.

Read more: 2021 Oscars expected to be postponed

Eligibility for the 2021 awards - the 93rd Oscars - has also been extended to 28 February, 2021, with nominations set to be announced on 15 March.

Academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson said: “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. 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 penalised for something beyond anyone’s control.

“This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema.”

Read more: Academy brings in new diversity requirements

The Oscars have been delayed on three previous occasions; first after the Los Angeles flood of 1938, again following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968 and then in 1981, after the attempted assassination of president Ronald Reagan.

It preceded news that the BAFTAs will now take place two weeks before the Oscars, on 11 April.

“This change from the previously announced date of Feb. 14 acknowledges the impact of the global pandemic and accommodates an extended eligibility period. Further details on the ceremony will be announced later in the year,” it said in a statement last night.

In a similar move to that made by the Oscars, BAFTA is mulling allowing films released on digital outlets only – and not released theatrically – to be considered for next year's awards.

It told Variety last week that it is 'absolutely under discussion'.