Awards Season Under Attack by Omicron: The Cancellations and Postponements

From the Grammy Awards, to the Sundance Film Festival, and the Academy Governor’s Awards, several entertainment events been shelved in L.A.

All we hear about these days is cancel culture, the buzziest expression of 2021—by the right wing and the left wing. But now, due to the sudden ubiquity of COVID variant Omicron, awards season 2022 is meeting cancel culture head on. Good thing The Academy was forward thinking enough to choose March 27, 2022, as its date—almost two months after its normal times date (remember those?) in early February. The last Oscar ceremony with a full seated audience took place five weeks (Feb 2020) before the COVID wave began (mid-March) to flood Los Angeles, drowning every event in its wake.

Here’s a list of awards season events and shows that have been cancelled for live audiences, so far. This list will (unfortunately) be updated as Omicron continues—or not—on its rapid journey.

Palm Springs Film Festival 

The annual early January Palm Springs Film Festival, always opening with a splashy black-tie gala, the first major red carpet of the year directly after the New Year, always honors a myriad of stars and films (this year Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, “Belfast,” etc) cancelled its entire event planned for January 6-17. It won’t be back till January 2023.

BAFTA Tea Party 

Every year the British Academy of Film and Television throws a daytime tea party at the Four Seasons Hotel, with British film and tv nominees—and even some Americans— attending to talk to a hungry press corp. This year’s January 8 event is now TBD. Damn, those little authentic British no-crust cucumber sandwiches were good. But the BAFTA awards show is still set to happen at the Royal Albert Hall on March 13. The nominations will be announced on February 3. And yes, Hollywood films and tv shows are interspersed with the British ones.

AFI Awards Luncheon

Set for Friday January 7, the American Film Institute postponed to an unspecified later date, describing the event as being all about “hugs and handshakes.”

In December, the group announced its top ten movies and tv shows, in alphabetical order, that are deemed “culturally and artistically representative of the year.” “Belfast,” “Squid Game” and “Summer of Soul” were set to receive special awards.

Critics Choice Awards

Taking advantage of televised Golden Globes literally getting cancelled due to multiple HFPA controversies, The Critics Choice Awards—normally held the second week of January—grabbed the Globes first Sunday of the month. However, over the holiday, they wisely chose to postpone the show, hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer, broadcast always on the CW and TBS. No date on a rescheduling yet. The group is waiting on L.A. County health officials to weigh in on the Omicron surge and when it subsides.

Meanwhile, The Golden Globe Awards will be announced on Sunday, January 9 at 6 p.m. with no show, no stars, no red carpet, no ceremony—and we don’t even know if you can stream it yet or where. We bet the nominees and studios will be paying attention, anyway.

National Board of Review Gala 

The annual New York based event set for January 11 is now postponed and remains TBD. The critics group named Licorice Pizza as best picture of 2022.

Academy Governor’s Awards

The annual event honoring lifetime achievement was set for January 15.

Sundance Film Festival 

The annual Sundance Film Festival, darling of indie filmmakers and skiers alike, was set to kick off January 20. However, fest officials announced on January 5 – only two weeks ahead of the fest – that the ten-day showing of films American indie films large and small will now be online only. Many attendees and celebs were already booking cars back to L.A. in case they tested positive. Some of the most anticipated films are Jesse Eisenberg’s directorial debut, When You Finish Saving the World, starring Finn Wolfhard and Julianne Moore, and Call Jane, starring Elizabeth Banks.

Grammy Awards

The Recording Academy announced on January 5 that it’s postponing its January 31 show to be hosted by Trever Noah to air at the Arena (Staples Center), given the amount of live performances that are always staged there – and a big music biz crowd. Noah’s promos had already begun airing on CBS. The group will announce a revised date when health officials give them the green light. It’s the second year in a row the show’s had to postpone.

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