The Wednesday meeting of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors approved the rules for the 94th Academy Awards to be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and broadcast live on ABC and around the world on March 27, 2022, moved back from February 27. That’s one month earlier than this year’s delayed Oscars (April 25, 2021) and six weeks later than last year’s (February 9, 2020). The Academy is staying away from both Super Bowl LVI on February 13 as well as the Winter Olympics in Beijing (February 4 through February 20), while leaving plenty of time for Oscar-show planning after the nominations announcement on February 8.
As the pandemic winds down and theaters reopen with many movies postponed from last year, including such high-profile pictures as rival New York musicals from Jon M. Chu (“In the Heights”) and Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”), the Academy is staying flexible about eligibility requirements.
There will be two methods of qualification for awards consideration in Best Picture and general entry categories. First, films intended for theatrical release that are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD, or broadcast may qualify under these provisions: the film is available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast, and it meets all other eligibility requirements.
Second, films that open in theaters in at least one of the six qualifying U.S. cities — the wider metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta — may qualify under these provisions: the film completes a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days in the same commercial venue, with at least three screenings daily and one every day between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., and it meets all other eligibility requirements.
Drive-in theaters qualify as a commercial venue in the six cities; the movie must run for seven consecutive days with at least one screening daily. (The Academy Screening Room would be optional.) Academy members are currently pressing the Academy to restart its popular weekly screenings for voters. It’s hard to believe the Academy won’t screen potential contenders at its Wilshire headquarters in its state-of-the-art Goldwyn Theatre.
Even with this year’s delayed Oscars, the eligibility period for Academy Awards consideration is returning to the usual December 31 deadline: the shorter than usual eligibility window means a feature film must have a qualifying release date between March 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. The Academy will release the complete 94th Awards rules and specialty category submission deadlines in June.
Following this year, the Academy intends to expand the qualifying requirements for the 95th Awards.
The Academy’s key dates for the 2022 Oscar season are below (subject to change):
General entry categories submission deadline
Monday, November 15, 2021
Preliminary voting begins 9 a.m. PT
Friday, December 10, 2021
Preliminary voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Oscar Shortlists Announcement
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Eligibility period ends
Friday, December 31, 2021
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Nominations voting begins 9 a.m. PT
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Oscar Nominations Announcement
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Monday, March 7, 2022
Finals voting begins 9 a.m. PT
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Finals voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Sunday, March 27, 2022
The Academy’s new member invites, which are slimmed down from recent years, will be announced in June, as members line up, as usual, to be candidates for the upcoming Board of Governors elections (June 7 through June 11) for one seat out of each of the Academy’s seventeen branches, although the Academy’s Aperture 2025 inclusion initiative dictates new term limits to prohibit some incumbent governors and executive committee leaders from returning.