The Oscars in January? Not so fast.

If you’re an OscarWatcher like me, you’ve certainly caught wind of Nikki Finke’s interesting report that the Academy may be considering moving the Oscar ceremony a month earlier to January. I’ve just received word from an Academy spokeswoman that “the discussion was about the possibility of doing so no sooner than the 84th Academy Awards, to be held in 2012. The date for the next Oscar telecast, the 83rd, has already been announced and is firm: February 27, 2011.”

To which I say: Thank God. I definitely agree that the overall awards season has grown way too long (particularly this past year, when the telecast was pushed back to March), but holding the Oscars in January would almost certainly mean that nominations would have to be announced in December, before all the movies have even opened in theaters. Other awards bodies, like the National Board of Review and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, do their voting in December, but each of those two groups have approximately 100 members. There’s simply no way the Academy’s 6,000 members—many of whom work full-time in the film industry—could get their acts together in time. As one Oscar voter told me today: “We don’t have enough time to watch the films as it is!” Could this shift, which is certainly an attempt to lessen the power of the Golden Globes, take place one day in the near future? Possibly. But I’d say an early February date seems like a better option.

Also: Oscars will not be moved in 2011, says Academy


Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • Tom

    Not to mention that this would seriously hurt the chances of smaller films trying to earn nominations or win the awards and their box office grosses overall. I think that the March date is the best but would much prefer that the event be held in February than any earlier

  • Entertainment2u-Twitter

    hi Dave — good to see ya

    end of February is fine with me, too

  • Fatima

    I live in Minneapolis which is actually a very arts-driven city, however even here it takes a while for art and indie movies to come to theaters. An Oscar telecast in January would pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t even have the chance to see half the nominated movies. Can’t imagine it would help the ratings to have films up for awards that didn’t get any time to build buzz with general, casual audiences.

  • RyRyNYC

    Ummm, season was really long last year? Really, Dave? As a “hardcore” Oscar “historian” one would think you’d remember how up until a couple of years ago the awards were held at the end of March annually… aside from your bone-head statement I actually think the awards should be held in January. Movies will now have to open up in September, October, and November – no more of this opening for one week before the year is up just to be considered for awards.

  • awardconters.com

    At the very earliest it should be after the Super Bowl. Playoff football would steal a ton of it’s potential viewers I would think.

  • Joel

    Yes, it should be moved. It has become a sort of coronation of sorts these days rather than an actual competition. Ideally, a move to January would also force distributors to release films earlier than the last week of December. However, I do see the other side of the argument, of time giving more perspective. In fact, I’ve heard some float the idea of having the Oscar ceremony every four, or even ten years, similar to the Olympics or as of late World Cup.

    • Anthony

      Who the heck floated the every four year idea? That is so silly.

      • Fatima

        It’s literally the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life.

  • Ethan

    I actually think the move to change the ceremony from the end of March to the end of February was a big mistake. Now awards season comes pre-coronated with winners seeing each others already-awarded movies when they open. There was always a bit of that, but the longer awards season meant there was at least a chance for people to see movies and reflect on what they liked most, as opposed to rushing to check out the movies already said to be award-worthy. As is, the shorter calendar means there are never any surprises and you can often accurately predict the Oscars sometime in October.

  • Tony

    I completely agree with you, Ethan.

  • Daivd

    Fixing it on Valentine’s Day would be sweet… either sweet Valentiine for some films….while it would be a Bloody Valentine for the losers!! bwahahahahhaa!!!!!

  • mary q contrary

    I freaking love this news. Not because they’re thinking of doing it earlier, but because it will be on my birthday next year. Again. It’s one of the only reasons I love my February birthday. And also because I love to torture my husband, who has to deal with our wedding anniversary on Feb. 8th, Valentine’s on the 14th, my birthday on the 27th, and then our daughter’s birthday on the 4th of March. It seriously sends him in a tailspin the entire month. He’s finally learning to cope, though, 10 years into the relationship, lol. Anyway, Oscars for mah berfday! Woot.

    • Fatima

      Any good marriage involves a little bit of torture.

  • A.L. Hern

    The plan is predicated on the unfortunate realization by the Academy’s Board of Governors that, with ten Best Picture nominees, an Oscar telecast beginning in early January just might be over by early March.

  • Tommy

    By the time the Oscars roll around, they seem so ‘minor’ for an award ‘so big.’ It’s complete award fatigue watching everyone grandstanding through the Golden Globes, SAG awards, British Awards…various film critic ceremony. (I really find it hilarious that George Clooney isn’t grandstanding about a ‘oil spill’ telethon. Guess there’s no voters to suck up to and the oil spill would’ve been more convenient had it happened during the voting process (like the Jan. Hope for Haiti telethon).
    It also seems that too much time is left open for the campaign ‘mudslinging’ to begin. What was considering ‘the best of the year’ becomes tainted by innuendo and negative campaigning.
    But, since all of the Oscar bait rolls out in January – I need the time to see everything.

  • Angela

    Moving up the Oscars to January would mess up a lot. Personally, I like them where they are now: mid-February to early March.

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