The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the “key dates” for the 2017 Oscar season this morning and after a few years or smart scheduling they found a way to make January chaotic again. AMPAS had already revealed the dates for the 2017 and 2018 telecasts last year and the calendar pretty much sticks to the same schedule as previous year except for two important dates: the end of phase one voting and the nomination announcements themselves.
Last year, the voting ended on Thursday, Jan. 8. This year voting ends on Friday, Jan. 13. The previous nomination announcement took place on Thursday, Jan 14. This year the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced Tuesday, Jan 24. Frankly, this isn’t great for a number of reasons.
First off, it once again puts the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in a position of significant influence. For the first time since 2012, the Golden Globes (Sunday, Jan. 8) will take place before the nomination voting deadline. In fact, there will be five full voting days for studios to jump on their Globe wins (or cry in their losses) before phase one ends. Nothing like empowering 80 or so international journalists to believe they are actually influencing an organization of over 6,000 members when you don’t have to Academy. Hollywood’s studios, consultants and publicists thank you in advance for making their season that much tougher.
Second, the nomination announcement will take place during the Sundance Film Festival for the first time since 2014.* This may seem like a disconnect, but a significant number of entertainment journalists from the United States and the rest of the world are traditionally at the festival during this time. Because they will have to get up to also cover the Oscars nominations (arguably one of the biggest movie news days of the year) the Academy will unintentionally force journalists not to cover films (at one of the most diverse filmmaker festivals in the world, mind you) that most likely need the discovery and attention the global press can provide. And we’re not talking three or four random journalists in Park City here. We’re talking 20-30 including those who leave the festival early because they need to get back to LA or New York for nomination day. Tough choices, eh Academy?
*This actually occurred on the Festival’s opening day which because the nominations are announced in the morning meant it didn’t conflict with the opening night premieres.
Of course, the benefit to AMPAS is they won’t have to deal with members complaining that they didn’t have enough time to watch all their screeners before voting begins. Such troubles. And, for those curious, Inauguration Day is Jan. 20, 2017 and shouldn’t have affected the nomination announcement which could have easily taken place on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Also worth noting, the final voting period of Feb. 13 – 21 means phase two has been truncated from 12 days in 2016 to just eight in 2017.
Academy key dates for the 2016 Awards season are:
Saturday, November 12, 2016 Governors Awards
Thursday, January 5, 2017 Nominations voting opens
Friday, January 13, 2017 Nominations voting closes
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Oscar Nominations Announcement
Monday, February 6, 2017 Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Saturday, February 11, 2017 Scientific and Technical Awards
Monday, February 13, 2017 Finals voting opens
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Finals voting closes
Oscar Sunday, February 26, 2017 89th Academy Awards