First it was the Met Gala, and now the Oscars have finally woken up to the realities of Covid-19 and made necessary adjustments. The Academy has announced that it is extending its annual calendar to accommodate a future where there is no discernible vaccine or widely available treatment for the Coronavirus pandemic. The new schedule for the awards in 2021 will move the actual ceremony from February 28, 2021, to April 25, 2021.
It is also extending its Scentific and Technical Awards, which rewards all the groundbreaking behind-the-scenes work that gives us such seamless cinematography from June 20, 2020 to a later date. Here’s the new schedule for Oscars season in full.
Academy key dates for the 2020/2021 Oscar season are as follows:
Preliminary voting begins: Feb 1, 2021
Preliminary voting ends: Feb. 5, 2021
Oscars shortlist announcement: Feb. 9, 2021
Nominations voting begins: Mar. 5, 2021
Nominations voting ends: Mar. 10, 2021
Oscar nominations announcement: Mar. 15, 2021
Oscars nominees luncheon: April 15, 2021
Final voting begins: April 15, 2021
Museum gala: April 17, 2021
Final voting ends: April 20, 2021
Oscars: April 25, 2021
Museum public opening: April 30, 2021
Now this is very good news for Nollywood for several reasons. First Netflix Naija launched in late 2019, bringing the expertise, creative might and financial backing of the world’s biggest streaming service to Nigeria. Netflix has gone from bit player into a major contender for awards season across film and television and Nigeria will finally be able to take aim for one of the coveted gongs at the Oscar (particularly best foreign film) now that they have the expertise and funding of Netflix to help out. In 2018, Genevieve Nnaji came perilously close to making the shortlist but eventually was disqualified. This new postponement puts us back in the running.
It also extends the timeline for independent Nigerian film makers who are making projects across Europe to finish their projects and vie with more established filmmakers for coveted spots in documentary and short documentary categories.
This is as good a lifeline as Nollywood will get. Let’s hope they make it count.