The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has postponed its April Board of Governors meeting, according to a report by Deadline, sparking fears that the Oscars could end up being impacted by the coronavirus.
Normally, the April meeting is used to discuss the past Oscars show and analyses it in detail with the producers, Deadline notes.
However, with the impact of the virus looming over the industry, critics have considered that the possible effect the pandemic could have on the ceremony may also be at the forefront of discussions.
And while the Oscars ceremony is almost a year away, outlets have surmised the severe delays of premiers and filming of blockbusters from studios as a result of lockdown measures could have a knock-on effect on the ceremony.
Writers have considered that if key film festivals are cancelled due to coronavirus social-distancing restrictions, there could be a large impact on films considered by the academy for the awards.
Earlier this month it was announced that the Cannes Film Festival would be postponed as a result of the pandemic, after organisers were originally reluctant to cancel the event.
They finally announced that the event could now be held in June or July instead of the scheduled dates in May.
According to Vanity Fair, other festivals are holding on tightly to their original dates later in the year.
However, Deadline predicted that the postponement of Cannes could quickly have a domino effect on the awards, stating that many subsequent festivals rely on pictures shown at the French festival.
Additionally, many films that may have intended to be considered for the 2021 awards have had to halt production due to the virus.
It could take a long time for the film industry to recover from the setback and finish the films in time for what Deadline described as potentially the most densely populated season ever.
Vanity Fair also speculated that the Academy is likely concerned about the fall release schedule.
The magazine suggested that cinemas and audiences may be overwhelmed with a backlog of pictures that had postponed releases from earlier in the year.
Other ceremonies such as the Golden Globes have had to make unprecedented changes to their eligibility rules in response to the pandemic. Some wonder if the Oscars will have to take the same course of action.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that films whose planned releases were cancelled due to the coronavirus are now exempt as long as they can prove they intended to release the film theatrically.
With most of the cultural events of the year that rely on large gatherings having already been cancelled or postponed, many think it seems unlikely that the figurehead ceremony of an industry so severely impacted by the virus would escape without any adjustments.
Aside from this weeks postponement of the initial board meeting, no official suggestion that the ceremony will be postponed or revised has been made.