Oscars to Keep Early Date Next Year
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Next year’s AcademyAwards will keep to the shortened schedule introduced amid some controversy for last month’s event.
The 77th annual ceremony will take place on Feb. 27, the last Sunday of the month, and the same relative spot on the calendar where this year’s show was set. Nominations will be announced at 5:30 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
In previous years, the Oscars took place at the end of March. The truncated schedule resulted in less time for the studios to promote their contenders and for voters to view all the offerings. But the early finish has allowed Hollywood to get back to business as usual sooner.
“I think people were surprised by how much they didn’t dislike the new schedule,” Academy spokesman John Pavlik said. “This year was sort of abnormally smooth. It certainly seemed to work better than we had feared. I think people did like the earlier schedule, and they liked the fact that it was all over (earlier in the year).”
Under next year’s schedule, nomination ballots will be mailed Monday, Dec. 27, and nominations polls will close at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005. Final ballots will be mailed Feb. 2 and due back at the Academy by Feb. 22.
There is only one departure from the original template used during the past awards season: When the schedule for the 76th awards was first announced last year, nomination ballots were scheduled to be mailed Jan. 2. However, realizing that the Academy would be closed that day for the New Year’s holiday, the Academy decided to begin mailing ballots Monday, Dec. 29, a last-minute move that caught a number of Oscar campaigns off guard.
Next year, the nominations mailings are officially set for Dec. 27, the first Monday after the Christmas holiday weekend. That move is expected to put pressure on distributors to release their Academy hopefuls earlier than the year-end dates that have been favored in the past. If a movie is released on Dec. 24, the Friday before Christmas, Academy members will barely have a chance to sample it before their nomination ballots arrive in the mail, so the shift to November and early December releases for potential awards contenders — a shift that began this year and that a number of distributors have vowed to continue next year — is likely to gather momentum.
The 2005 timetable was approved at a regularly scheduled board of governors meeting Tuesday night.
There was some discussion at the meeting of moving the entire 2005 timetable up one week, which would have seen nomination ballots go out before the Christmas holiday and the awards take place on the third weekend of February. But after concerns were voiced about mailing ballots amid the crush of holiday mail as well as well as the possibility of February rainstorms materializing on show night, that idea of moving to an even earlier date structure was quickly dropped.
When the Academy decided to accelerate its awards schedule last year by shifting the ceremonies to late February rather than late March, it decided to follow the new, foreshortened schedule for two years before assessing its use in future years.
Decisions about the 2006 schedule are not expected to be made until after the 2005 awards. But with this year’s schedule drawing generally positive reviews within the Academy, the Academy could well opt to stick to the new timetable in future years.
However, in 2006, the Academy Awards will face one competitor that could force it to move its date by at least one week either forward or backward on the calendar.
The Winter Olympics, taking place in Torino, Italy, will stage its closing ceremonies, to be broadcast by NBC, on Feb. 26, 2006. Because the Academy is not likely to want to pit the Oscars against the end of the games, the 2006 Oscar calendar may have to make some adjustments on the 2005 template.
Oscars to Keep Early Date Next Year