UPDATED: 2011 Oscars in January? I Highly Doubt It!

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UPDATE: Well, I doubt it even more now as Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has learned it’s NOT the 2011 telecast their discussing moving, it’s the 2012 date, which makes sense. Nevertheless, I think pretty much everything I said below still comes into play when considering an Oscar move to January.

Nikki Finke at Deadline is reporting last night’s Board of Governors meeting of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences involved a discussion that would move the 2011 Oscars from their currently slotted February 27th ceremony to an undecided January date. The news arrived on the heels of the very early announcement of Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer as producers of the 83rd Academy Awards. If you’ll remember, it wasn’t until September last year that Laurence Mark and Bill Condon were tapped to produce the 2010 Oscars. Finke insinuates the early notice was due to Academy President Tom Sherak’s interest in exploring a January shift.

Of course, such a move means potential conflict across the board from the Golden Globes on January 16 and the Sundance Film Festival, which runs during the final ten days of January. The only option that really leaves would be a move to Sunday, January 9th, one day before the 2011 BCS Championship Game. To top it off, they can’t even move to February 6, that’s the 2011 Super Bowl. Personally, I don’t see this as a likely possibility.

The reason this is coming up is no big revelation, Meryl Streep even talked about it last year with Entertainment Weekly saying:

“As time has gone on, so many other televised award shows precede the Oscars, and I do think that’s diluted their importance,” she said. “Certainly, everybody seems exhausted by the time the same people have trampled up on stage at the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the Broadcast Film Critics, the Baftas… There are so many now and they’re all on TV. I mean, you wanna see some real acting? Watch somebody who’s won five times before they get to the Oscars, then they get up on stage and they do the performance of, ‘Oh! Yes!’ Wow, that’s a big job! And who could blame them?” Streep then made the bold suggestion that the Oscars should kick off the kudos season: “I think the Academy should move it up to Jan. 1 and preempt everybody else. That is the big Kahuna, it’s the one that counts. And I think it’s just so bizarre that they allow themselves to be the caboose.”

Well, if Meryl Streep thinks it’s a good idea then we’d better do it… Right?

Hypothetically speaking, if it did happen studios would have to reconsider their release dates immediately. The nomination polls would also have to close much earlier than their currently planned date of January 14th. To keep the five week buffer we’re talking about polls closing somewhere around December 10th. Yeesh!

Just yesterday I mentioned how Sony Pictures Classics had set a Christmas Day release for The Illusionist and a December 29 release for Another Year. The chances of those release dates sticking should the Oscars be held only two weeks later are zero.

Other releases that would be immediately affected would include the Coen brothers’ True Grit (12/25), Disney’s Tron Legacy (12/17), James Brooks’ Everything You’ve Got (12/17), Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere (12/22) and the Sundance hit Blue Valentine (12/31). You’ve also got Morning Glory, The Next Three Days, Burlesque and The King’s Speech in November. We’re talking about a mess here folks.

This also means more DVD screeners being sent out, more chances at piracy and a whole mess of promotional trouble.

With the Broadcast Film Critics Awards on January 15, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 30 and the BAFTA Awards on February 13 the Oscars don’t have many options left. And don’t think they will try to go head-to-head or even during the same weekend. Not a lot of good karma in that decision.

Tom O’Neil over at Gold Derby says to hell with all that, “Push them back to April! … where they used to be.” To tell you the truth, it’s not a bad idea.

Right now the Oscars and all the award shows for that matter are relatively easy to predict. It’s a hive mind and one award leads to another. As O’Neil points out, if the Oscars were to wait until late March or April, the Academy members may become disinterested in the winners from earlier awards and add a little more suspense to the show such as they did when Russell Crowe won for Gladiator and Halle Berry won fro Monster’s Ball. Both those shows were held during the second to last week in March.

I’m sorry, looking at the options they have there really aren’t many decisions other than sticking with their February 27 date, because I don’t see O’Neil’s idea of moving farther out happening. The rise of technology means the world loses interest too quick and last year’s awards, which took place on March 7, felt far out enough as it was… primarily because we already knew who was going to win.

You can check the complete current 2011 awards schedule right here and should any changes be made I’ll be sure to update you as they happen.