As it has with everything else in the world, COVID-19 is now affecting one of the best seasons of the year, awards season! Usually held between November and February, these four months celebrate the best in TV and movies from the previous year.
Awards season will look a bit different this year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The usually very social events, with things like packed red carpets, crowded venues and extravagant afterparties have been changed to follow strict masking and social distancing guidelines. The normal timeline of awards season is also much different to account for the struggles that filmmakers faced as a result of the pandemic.
Hollywood, like the rest of the world, shut down back in March of 2020, resulting in production delays for many top movies. Several films set for release during the summer or winter were either pushed back or sent directly to streaming services instead of movie theaters. This made it difficult for many films to get the Oscar buzz that they need in order to be in contention.
Since COVID-19 caused release dates to be pushed back, the Academy decided that not only would their annual awards ceremony be moved, but the eligibility period for the awards would be extended as well. In order to make up for the closing of movie theaters over the summer, the Academy decided to extend the eligibility deadline for best picture movie contenders; changing the deadline from Dec. 31 to Feb. 28. Instead of the usual rush of Oscar contenders coming out around the holiday season, we’ve seen a wider spread of time between the release dates of top movies.
Following the Academy’s lead, most of the other big awards shows have changed their dates. By doing so, the awards show hope to provide filmmakers with the flexibility to finish and release their films within a reasonable amount of time; without being punished for something that was completely out of their control.
In terms of logistics, the awards shows will be much different than in past years. Although we don’t know the specifics about the Academy Awards, some information has been released about how the Golden Globes will work and it is likely that the other award shows will follow a similar virtual format. The show will be split between coasts, with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting from their respective home cities in New York City and Beverly Hills. Nominees will attend via remote connections instead of gathering in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
With all the logistical changes we’ve seen, you might be wondering if it’s even possible, or worth it, to have any award shows this year. We have seen at least one success story in terms of award shows amid the pandemic, the Emmy Awards. Back in September 2020, the Emmys were broadcast in a socially distant, virtual format. Jimmy Kimmel was the host and was joined at the Staples Center with only a handful of stars, all of whom were tested before the show. Nominees awaited the results from home, and, if they won, were handed their awards by a trophy presenter in a full hazmat suit. The Emmys showcased the possibilities of creating an entertaining awards show while following all of the necessary health and safety guidelines.
As they say in show business, the show must go on and that is exactly what will happen in the coming weeks. The major award shows of the year will still occur, just a bit later than normal. The Golden Globes will be held on Feb. 28, the Grammys on March 14, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on April 4 and finally, the cumulation of awards season, the Oscars on April 25.