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Oscar Voting Has Finally Started -- Very Late, Thanks To Pandemic

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(Danny Moloshok, Invision/AP)
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Even before the pandemic, Hollywood’s awards season ran for a seeming eternity — about six months from the launch of the fall film festivals to the final dispensing of Academy Award statuettes.

But COVID-19 has forced the industry to overhaul its trophy calendar. Oscar voting finally started today. By this time last year, the awards ceremony was already done and gone.

Over the last 10 years, all but two Academy Awards ceremonies were held in February. But with movie release schedules thrown into chaos, and the logistics of this year’s Oscar broadcast a work in pandemic progress, very few things are unfolding as originally planned.

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The late start of voting in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is but one of the current Oscar accommodations.

The academy also extended the cut-off eligibility date for qualifying films, and changed a fundamental rule that once barred movies that premiered on streaming sites from competing.

That means the odds of streamers like Netflix (“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Mank”) and Amazon (“The Sound of Metal,” “One Night in Miami,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) taking home some Oscar hardware have improved.

Even though the voting has begun, you hardly need to start planning your Oscar party yet: The 2021 ceremony won’t be staged until April 25.

But even with all the delays, there’s still a clear front runner: the Chloé Zhao “Nomadland” starring Frances McDormand.

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