Oscar date debate

Variety editorial

There’s no going back. The motion picture academy this week released its official schedule for next year’s accelerated Oscar campaign. Amid all of the angst-ridden reaction, however, one wonders how fundamentally the landscape will change.

Nomination ballots will be mailed Jan. 2, noms announced Jan. 27, and the show itself will be Feb. 29. The shift has caused high anxiety, with campaign vets wondering how smaller films will compete, or how late in the year a quality film can be released.

Those worries, and indeed the whole date debate, seem a distraction from the basic realities of kudos life. The vitality of the Oscars always comes down to two things: the nature of the nominated films and the pace and tone of the show itself. If the show clicks, it won’t be because it is February.

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