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Oscars 2022 ceremony moves to late March, keeping pandemic qualifying rules and standard calendar year


(Matt Petit – Handout/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

Giving needed breathing room between the Olympics and the Super Bowl, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has opted for a spring ceremony.

The 94th Oscars will be held on March 27, 2022, exiting its originally scheduled airdate of Feb. 27. With the Cannes Film Festival lineup announcement looming, the sure-to-be densely packed film year has also been given its eligibility and qualifying requirements, which mirror this past year’s addendums.

Set to return to the prestigious Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the Oscars’ eligibility will return to its standard format unsurprisingly. For a feature film to qualify for best picture and the general entry categories, it will have to be released between March 1 and Dec. 31.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy made changes to the eligibility last year, extending to eligibility until Feb. 28, 2021, which films such as “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” were able to take.

On Wednesday evening, the Academy’s Board of Governors approved to adopt the same addendums that were made for this previous awards season ceremony for movies to be eligible. Per the Academy’s Rule Two eligibility, there are two methods for a feature to qualify for best picture and general entry categories:

  1. Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service, or other broadcast may qualify under these provisions:
    • That the film be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast
    • That it meets all other eligibility requirements
  2. Films that open in theaters in at least one of the six qualifying U.S. cities, depending on theater availability, may qualify under these provisions:
    • That the film completes a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days in the same commercial venue, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily, with at least one screening beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily
    • That it meets all other eligibility requirements
    • Six qualifying U.S. cities include: Los Angeles County; City of New York [Five Boroughs]; the Bay Area [counties of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo and Contra Costa]; Chicago [Cook County, Illinois]; Miami [Miami-Dade County, Florida]; and Atlanta [Fulton
      County, Georgia].
    • Drive-in theaters are included as a qualifying commercial venue in the above cities (must run for seven consecutive days with at least one screening daily)
    • Academy Screening Room would be optional

In addition, the Academy also signaled that some of these addendums could become permanent, announcing its intention to expand the qualifying requirements for the 95th Academy Awards ceremony for 2023.

Many speculate that the debut on Academy Streaming Room and streaming platforms could become cemented in the Academy’s rule book. In September 2020, the Oscars announced its diversity and representation requirements scheduled to go into effect in 2024.

A film must meet two of four standards to qualify for best picture. As always, the rules and dates remain fluid and are subject to change. The complete rules and specialty category submission deadlines will be announced in June.

This year, the Oscars awarded “Nomadland,” its top prize for best picture, in addition to best director for Chloé Zhao and actress for Frances McDormand, who won her third acting award.

This upcoming season will see the best picture field go back to a guaranteed 10 films nominated since 2011. Some movies have already begun to generate awards buzz, including Jon M. Chu’s “In the Heights” and Sundance festival hits like Fran Kranz’s “Mass.” Variety’s list of early picks can be found on the Oscar predictions hub and best picture page.

The Academy key dates for the 2021 season are as follows:

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