The Oscars are getting out of the way of next year's Winter Olympics and moving into March, 2014, but the show then plans to return to late February for the 2015 awards.
The move to March allows the Academy to slightly adjust the timetable that forced voters to cast their nominating ballots earlier than ever this year, although it still requires ballots to be returned in early January.
The dates for the 86th and 87th Oscars were announced on Monday morning by the Academy, which said that next year's Academy Awards will take place on March 2 and 2015's awards will happen on Feb. 22.
Although the organization has been under pressure to consider a move to early February or even late January, the newly announced dates -- and the unusual step of revealing two years of dates instead of just one -- reinforced that the AMPAS Board of Governors and ABC are comfortable with a late February date except when it conflicts with the Olympics.
The Oscars have taken place on the last Sunday in February every year since 2003, with the exception of 2006 and 2010. Both of those years, the usual February date for the Oscars would have put the show on the air opposite the Winter Olympics' closing ceremony. The same conflict would take place in 2014, with the games scheduled to end on Sunday, Feb. 23.
Next year's timetable calls for nominations voting to open on Dec. 27, 2013 and close on Jan. 8, 2014, three days later than it closed this year. Nominations will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 16, a week later than this year's announcement.
While this year's Oscar nominations were originally scheduled to take place two days after the Golden Globes, the Board of Governors moved it to three days before the Globes. But the Jan. 16 announcement will probably put next year's nominations after the Globes, which will likely take place on Jan. 12.
The AMPAS press release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network today announced the dates for the 86th and 87th Oscar® presentations. The 86th and 87th Academy Awards® will air live on ABC on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, and February 22, 2015, respectively.
Key dates for the Awards season are:
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013: The Governors Awards Monday, Dec. 2: Official Screen Credits Due Friday, Dec. 27: Nominations voting begins Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT Thursday, Jan. 16: Oscar nominations announced Monday, Feb. 10: Nominees Luncheon Friday, Feb. 14: Final voting begins Saturday, Feb. 15: Scientific and Technical Awards Tuesday, Feb. 25: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT Sunday, March 2: 86th Academy Awards
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015: 87th Academy Awards
The 86th and 87th Academy Awards ceremonies will be held at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.