The Oscars will stay in February in 2012

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The Oscars will stay put -- for now.

After flirting with a date change for the 2012 telecast, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has opted to keep the awards show in its current late-February slot. But the group said a move for 2013 remains under consideration.

Two weeks ago, The Times reported that the academy had formed a task force to seriously consider a move to late January or early February. The Oscars have in recent years been coping with both a feeling of fatigue within the film industry about the long awards campaign season as well as a TV ratings dip. Moving up the telecast, some at the academy felt, would prevent viewers from feeling like much of the awards drama had already played out by the time the Oscars are handed out.


In a statement late Wednesday afternoon, the academy said it had decided against accelerating the current schedule. ‘The academy’s Board of Governors has determined that the date of the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 will not be significantly earlier than the now-traditional last Sunday in February,’ the statement said. ‘A different date still remains a possibility in subsequent years, and the academy’s staff and board will continue to evaluate the advantages and challenges associated with such a change.’

One person familiar with the discussions among the governors said that one of the concerns was that a change would require extensive research on the television front, with the various nominating branches and with movie studios. There was not enough time to conduct that research, the person said, before the 2011-12 awards season begins less than one year from now.

Among the uncertainties for 2012 in particular is the NFL playoff schedule. The league, whose games typically gobble up the broadcast competition, faces a labor conflict as well as a potential schedule revamp that could wreak havoc with the 2011 season and the playoffs that follow in early 2012.

A period of debate within the movie business and research among consumers is now expected to kick into gear as the academy weighs its options for 2013.

--Steven Zeitchik


Academy looks to move 2012 Oscars