Jan 5, 2022

Awards Season in Hollywood Faces Surge of Cancellations And Shifts to Digital Amid Omicron Case Rise

Omicron is really turning 2020 into a triple feature, or a trilogy if you will. As cases of the latest Covid-19 strain (Omicron) are surging Hollywood is cancelling in-person awards shows left and right in order to put the health and safety of attendees first.

Billy Crystal during the live ABC Television Network broadcast of the 84th Annual Academy Awards® from the Hollywood and Highland Center, in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, February 26, 2012.

 Hollywood is rocketing into the peak of Academy Awards’ season but many shows are in limbo at the moment, while many more are announcing cancellations with future dates t.b.d. The AFI Awards, the BAFTA Tea party and the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival were amongst the first to shutter their planned events. The industry continues to grapple with yet another grim stretch of the ongoing pandemic, as before Hollywood is putting the health and safety of all creatives before the typical “show must go on” motto that runs this town. Next on the Awards Show chopping block for 2022 is The Hollywood Critics Association and Critics Choice Awards soon each respectively deciding to postpone their events (the 5th Annual HCA Film Awards ceremony are now Feb. 28).

In the highly anticipated festivals, The Slamdance Film Festival has decided to forgo the in-person portion of its hybrid event in Park City, Utah, which was scheduled to run Jan. 20 to 23, and continue with the virtual portion of the program only, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6. The week push will allow for a shift in all programming to move into the digital sphere.

The highly anticipated return of the Sundance Film Festival to in-person has also shifted to digital. The Sundance Film Festival has scrapped all plans for an in-person festival for 2022. Sundance will be presented as an exclusively virtual event. The Sundance Institute added of the changes, how difficult the decision was to make given that “as a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds. But with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk. The undue stress to Summit County’s health services and our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers would be irresponsible in this climate.”

In live theatrical productions, including those in London’s West End, New York City’s famed Broadway and throughout Los Angeles, have been hit particularly hard with shows going dark amid growing Omicron cases. Most Broadway shows have cancelled throughout the Christmas holidays, and now Music Man has shuttered for two weeks due to star Huge Jackman testing positive. We will keep you updated as the situation continues to evolve. Watch this space.