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Foto: prensalibre
Foto: prensalibre

The Oscar ceremony has been postponed because of the pandemic

In a press release, the Academy has announced its decision to move the Awards ceremony to April next year.

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The last few months have turn the film industry upside down: the quarantines closed down the cinemas - which were already in decline because of the streaming services - interrupted recordings, cancelled festivals and cut national budgets for subsidising the seventh art.

And even when economic activities begin to resume, the return from theaters will be delayed not only because the idea of leaving a chair in between one viewer and another goes against the experience we are used to, but because the recycled air in the enclosed spaces of the theaters is the equivalent of a self-service for a virus like SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

If there's any consolation left for lovers of watching movies on the big screen, it's the return of the auto-cinema, one of those things that fell into disuse -like the turntables- that by blows of fate made its triumphant return.

Most of the major film festivals - Cannes, Berlin, Venice, etc. - that came before the Oscars were grouped together in the We Are One Global Festival, a free online festival, where each event included a curatorship of the films it would have screened if it could have.

The Cannes Film Festival came up with the rather lukewarm solution of having an Official Selection, but no winners and no rescheduling of this year's date. Although it announced that the selected films will be able to count on its seal in the promotion when they could be screened in theaters, this is a solution that takes away the prestige of the projection in the festival and deprives them of the spaces of public relation, useful for the realization of future projects. Sort of a bitter, sugar-free candy.

That's why this week the Oscars announced an important change of dates: instead of February 28, 2021, they will be on April 25. And works eligible for the award may be published until February 28, instead of the usual December 31.

The goal, say Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in the press release, is not to penalize anyone for what is beyond their reach. Out of reach of anyone. This additional time will allow productions to be completed and released in theatres before delivery of the award.

Perhaps, it also gives space for the selection of films to be more diverse.

Although the Oscars have been criticized year after year for their little diversity - both racial and gender and the little weight they have given to foreign films that have been able to compete in categories such as Best Film or Best Screenplay - in recent years there has been progress.

In fact, it was a step forward that this year South Korean film by Bong Joon-Ho, Parasites, won the statuettes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film.

To have a point of contrast, in this year's official Cannes selection there was only one Latin American film: the adaptation of "El olvido que seremos," the book by Colombian writer Héctor Abad Faciolince about the life and murder of his father.

In the meantime, we will take refuge in the classics, in streaming and in the small independent festivals that decided to put their chest to the wind and go online.

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