The 93rd Academy Awards’ two-month postponement has already prompted the BAFTA Film Awards to follow suite, but it won’t have a domino effect on the scheduling of the Cannes and Berlin film festivals, organizers told Variety.
After canceling this year’s physical edition due to the coronavirus crisis, the Cannes Film Festival said it will keep its spring 2021 edition and kick off in mid-May, only a few weeks after the Oscars on April 25. The exact dates will be unveiled this week.
“The 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will take place as it traditionally does in May,” Cannes director Thierry Fremaux tells Variety.
“We understand that the next Academy Awards will be held at the end of April due to the exceptional circumstances. That said, our next edition will go on as planned in May to shine a light on cinema from all around the world, and welcome back the film community after this difficult year,” added Fremaux, who joked that “if the Academy wants to postpone its ceremony to May it would be welcomed at Cannes.”
Several high-profile movies that were expected to bow at this year’s Cannes have been held by filmmakers to world premiere at the festival in 2021, for instance Paul Verhoeven’s “Benedetta” and Leos Carax’s “Annette” with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.
The postponing of the Oscars positions Cannes very early in the awards season. The fest has usually been a strong launchpad for foreign-language films such as “Parasite,” and to a lesser extent some U.S. films, notably “BlacKkKlansman,” which earned Spike Lee a best director nod. Although Cannes’ Official Selection is hardly ever U.S.-centric, the festival typically welcomes stars of the red carpet and on the jury. It remains to be seen whether stars will be willing to travel right after the marathon leading to the Oscars.
The Berlin Film Festival, however, might benefit from the Oscars’ move as it will take place right in the last stretch of awards season, from Feb. 11-21.
Of course, Berlinale director duo Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian tell Variety that “it is way too early to (comment).
“On our side, we are confident to put the festival in place and we are working along with our partners in that direction. Of course, we are very much willing to have an open conversation with production companies, studios and rights owners. If the Berlin International Film Festival can support films in their journey, we will be happy to give our contribution — especially in these exceptional times,” said the pair.
While the Oscars’ change of date might not shake up the scheduling of the festivals’ circuit, it could affect the type of movies that are submitted to this year’s fall festivals, notably Venice and Toronto. The move also puts Sundance in a particularly strong position. Organizers of the Venice Film Festival declined to comment.
Besides the BAFTAs, which will be held on April 11 instead of February 14, other international awards ceremonies could be impacted by the Oscars’ date shift.
Spain’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which usually celebrates its Goya Awards in late January, tells Variety that it will meet next week to decide whether to push back next year’s ceremony. The Cesar Awards in France did not respond to Variety‘s request for a comment by press time.