The coronavirus is gone and everything is going back to normal (we’re being facetious to make a point), but the Academy Awards still have some recalibrating to do before everything can settle back to the way it was in the before-times—and it’s only partially because of how shifting the airdate of the Oscars screwed up the normal eligibility window. All of this is a roundabout way of saying that the 94th Academy Awards (a.k.a. the 2022 Oscars) will be happening late again, but the show will at least be slightly less late than it was this year.
This comes from Deadline, which says the next Academy Awards has been scheduled for March 27, 2022, about a month earlier than this year (and a month later than old years), with nominations being announced on February 8. The March date for the 2022 Oscars was chosen to get out of the way of both the Super Bowl and the Beijing Olympics, both of which will be happening at the same-ish time in February of that year, which sounds like it’s going to be exhausting.
Despite the still-late date, though, the Motion Picture Academy has decided to revert the eligibility deadline back to December 31, the way it was before the pandemic, so as to avoid future complications in future years. The eligibility window was expanded this past year to account for COVID fucking over the movie industry, going to February 28 of 2021 rather than December 31 of 2020, which means the window for the 2022 Oscars is now February 28 of 2021 to December 31 of 2021—meaning it’s 10 months instead of 12 months.
Deadline points out that the 12-month window has been in place since 1934, because year-lengths don’t tend to change, making this the smallest Oscars eligibility window in a very long time. Of course, Oscar-bait movies tend to all come out late in the year anyway, so the Academy could probably trim it by another six months and the average moviegoer still wouldn’t notice much of a difference. Also, movies that come out after December 31 will still be eligible for the 2023 Oscars, so everything should work out eventually.
That all being said, it won’t be any harder to get your movie nominated for an Oscar than it was in this past year, because the special 2020 rule amendments that were made for films that had to go on streaming will still be in place. (Normally, even streaming films have to get at least a small theatrical run to be eligible for Oscars.) However, it will become slightly harder to get an Oscar nomination in 2024, because that’s when The Academy’s inclusion and representation guidelines will go into effect for potential Best Picture nominees. Those changes were announced back in September.