Get ready for a (slightly) extended Oscar race next year. As if the cycle of shifting film favorites and ceaseless promotion wasn't (slightly) long enough for you in the Oscar season that pretty much just ended, the Academy announced today that the show is moving back to March—March 2 to be precise. And, yes, somewhere, somehow, this is Russia's fault.
It's going to be a particularly busy winter in 2014. The Oscar ceremony was in all likelihood scheduled for March to avoid overlap with the Winter Olympics, which will run from February 7 through 23 in Sochi. The Associated Press reported back in February that "planners [were] already struggling with the timing for next year's show in what could be a very early and very late awards season."
After long being held at the end of March, the Oscar ceremony moved to February in 2004, but since then has twice altered their schedule to avoid the Olympics. There was speculation that the Oscars could perhaps move to late January, but it's now looking—as the AP predicted—like there could be a long gap between the Oscars and other awards shows. The Screen Actors and Producers Guild Awards already moved up to Martin Luther King weekend. The Directors Guild awards are set for January 25.
In 2015, however, the Oscars are back to February 22.
Meanwhile, the Oscar race got some heat today as The Weinstein Company set a December 27 release date for Nicole Kidman-starring Grace of Monaco. That combination of release date, distributor, star, and topic screams awards bait. Looks like Harvey Weinstein has about 66 days to win Best Actress for Kidman — or about half as long as it took The Master to go from favorite to forgotten in the 2012-2013 Oscar hype cycle, and twice as long as it took Argo to be the presumed favorite pretty much everywhere.