Oscar Move A-OK With ABC

Hollywood was all abuzz last month when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mentioned the possibility of moving the Academy Awards from March to February starting in 2004. According to Variety, today the Academy is a couple steps closer to greenlighting the move: the Kodak Theater is available on the probable date and, more importantly, ABC has signed off on the date change.

The move would be a positive for the network, which has used the Oscar ceremony as a springboard to launch midseason series. It would also give ABC more time to try out new shows before the season’s end in May.

While the 2004 Oscarcast would not take place during the February sweeps, in future years it could: the dates for the sweeps change every year.

Advantages aside, one of the main reasons for changing the date is to cut down on negative Oscar campaigning, which critics say has gotten out of hand.

Take the 2002 Academy Awards, for example.

Weeks before Oscar night, reports surfaced that Miramax, which produced In the Bedroom, had run a smear campaign against A Beautiful Mind alleging that the film and its subject, John Forbes Nash, Jr., were anti-Semitic and homophobic. Some reported the culprit was 20th Century Fox, which had been vigorously promoting its musical, Moulin Rouge.