"What are next year's Oscars going to look like?" It's a question the industry, awards forecasters and armchair pundits alike have been wondering as release schedules are scuttled and film festivals are canned amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
One festival that has yet to be canceled outright is the Cannes Film Festival, which historically serves as a major mile marker on the road to the Academy Awards. The French Riviera-based fest was set to take place from May 12-23, but organizers announced in March that it would be postponed until the end of June.
On Tuesday, the Festival de Cannes team announced scheduling it for the summer is "no longer an option" and that Cannes will likely not be held "in its original form" this year.
"We have started many discussions with professionals, in France and abroad. They agree that the Festival de Cannes, an essential pillar for the film industry, must explore all contingencies allowing to support the year of Cinema by making Cannes 2020 real, in a way or another," the release explains. "When the health crisis, whose resolution remains the priority of all, passes, we will have to reiterate and prove the importance of cinema and the role that its work, artists, professionals, film theatres and their audiences, play in our lives."
As for what the uncertainty of this year's Cannes means for the 2021 Oscars, that's, well, also uncertain. But last year's festival competition helped launch eventual contenders like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Pain and Glory, with Parasite picking up the Palme d'Or before going on to win Best Picture during February's Academy Awards.
"Each and everyone knows that many uncertainties are still reigning over the international health situation," Cannes organizers concluded their statement. "We hope to be able to communicate promptly regarding the shapes that this Cannes 2020 will take."