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Next year's Oscars to be delayed

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The Oscars ceremony has been pushed back two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It will now take place on 25 April next year, instead of 28 February.

It's only the fourth time in more than 90 years that Hollywood's big night has been postponed.

In a joint statement, Academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson said the delay would give filmmakers flexibility to complete and release their movies after COVID-19 halted projects around the world.

They said they hoped the extension would also avoid filmmakers being "penalised for something beyond anyone's control".

Eligibility has also been loosened by extending the deadline for award consideration beyond the usual 31 December.

Feature films will now need a release date between 1 January, 2020 and 28 February, 2021.

The Oscars nominations will be announced on 15 March, with the nominees' lunch on 15 April.

The long-awaited opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has also been postponed by four months - to 30 April.

This Oscars were first delayed in 1938 due to the Los Angeles flood.

The second - a two-day delay - happened in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, while the third was for just a day in 1981 after an assassination attempt on former president Ronald Reagan.

This latest postponement also raises questions about the timelines of other major awards ceremonies, including the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, the network which broadcasts the Oscars, said it was "uncharted territory" but vowed to ensure the event would be a "safe and celebratory" occasion.

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