Former Oscars producers say the Academy should move the telecast to January — before the 14 other award shows make everyone exhausted

The 91st Academy Awards air on Sunday.

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The 91st Academy Awards air on Sunday.
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Carlo Allegri /Getty Images

  • Many in Hollywood believe that because there are so many award shows before Oscar night, people are already burned out by the time the big night arrives, and the major awards often feel predetermined.
  • Business Insider talked to insiders who believe the Academy Awards should be moved up to January, and air before many of the other award ceremonies.
  • But, like everything related to the Oscars, every idea has its critics.

The thing about being the biggest award show in the world is that imitation is soon to follow.

This year, there were around 14 award ceremonies that took place before Sunday’s Academy Awards, from the ones televised (Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice Awards, Independent Spirit Awards) to the many more that aren’t (Gotham Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Producers Guild, Directors Guild, Screenwriters Guild). But all of them get loads of coverage through media outlets that report the Oscars lead-up like a horse race.

Because of the months-long coverage, many are burned out from the whole thing by the time Oscar night hits. And there’s often less drama around who will win in some major categories, as the same people have won at the previous ceremonies.

“The cannibalization of the specialness of the evening is probably, in my opinion, been the single worst thing for the Oscars,” director/producer Adam Shankman (“What Men Want”), who produced the 82nd Oscars in 2010, told Business Insider.

What’s the fix? Some in Hollywood believe the only way to bring the night back to its glory is to air it before all these other award shows happen.

“The Academy should push everybody out of business in terms of the awards,” said Bill Mechanic, who produced the 82nd Oscars alongside Shankman. “There’s one award that matters and that’s the only thing to protect. There’s nothing else that matters.”

But if you’ve followed the constant pushback the Oscars received leading up to this year’s show when trying to make its running time shorter, you shouldn’t be surprised that there are others in the business who believe moving the Oscars up would be a challenge.

“The problem with doing that is voters will not have had enough of a chance to see the movies, and it would essentially be declaring war on all these other shows,” The Hollywood Reporter award columnist Scott Feinberg said.

Award season kicks off around late August/early September when, in the span of a few weeks, Oscar hopefuls begin to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival (in some cases, films screen at two of these fests or all three).

As buzz begins to build on those titles before their theatrical releases, more Oscar bait is released theatrically, leading to a sprint to see everything before the end of the year. January is then when award screeners are sent out to voters who nominate for the upcoming award shows.

Read more: Who had the best chance to win at the 2019 Oscars on Sunday night, which could hold the most surprises in years

If the Oscars moved to January, the entire voting process would have to be overhauled. And for a town that doesn’t like change, that’s a big ask.

And then there’s the damage to the lesser-known events.

“They are going to make everybody else fit in a smaller window,” Gold Derby managing editor Chris Beachum said. “These non-televised events, they all rely on that evening being a big moneymaker for themselves – selling programs, advertisements, tables. They can’t afford to give up that night. So now you’re going to cause all of these award shows to fit into a much smaller window.”

While you shouldn’t expect the Oscars to air in January any time soon, it’s clear the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is aware of the complaint. The 2020 Oscars will happen weeks earlier than this year, as the telecast is set to air on February 9 – the earliest date ever.