The Academy Awards will be taking place two months later than scheduled, with the eligibility period extending to Feb. 25
South Korean film director Bong Joon Ho (L), producer Kwak Sin-ae and US actress Renee Zellweger (R) wait for their awards to be engraved as they attend the 92nd Oscars Governors Ball at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on February 9, 2020.
Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty

The 2021 Academy Awards have a new date.

The Oscars will now take place on April 25, 2021, two months after its original Feb. 28 date. The eligibility period has also moved back from Dec. 31 to Feb. 28.

This is the fourth time a delay has happened in the annual award ceremony's 92-year history. The first time occurred in 1938 due to flooding in L.A. and the next two followed after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968 and President Ronald Reagan's attempted assassination in 1981.

The decision comes as dozens of movies have been pushed back from their release dates due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Cannes Film Festival, seen as the start to awards season, was canceled in May weeks after SXSW Festival in Austin was also forced to cancel.

“For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement. “This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema."

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The news comes days after the Academy announced its next phase in making the show and membership more inclusive and diverse.

The initiative began after #OscarsSoWhite made headlines, causing the Academy to prioritize doubling their number of women and people of color filmmakers.

Now, the Academy is launching the second phase of their initiative, called Academy Aperture 2025, which will include the creation of a task force “to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020,” according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

The Academy will also guarantee 10 Best Picture nominees beginning with the 2021 Oscars, a difference from the current system which allows the Best Picture nominees to be anywhere from five to 10 films.

Academy members will also be able to view films released year-round through the Academy’s streaming site, the Academy Screening Room, giving films more “exposure, level the playing field, and ensure all eligible films can be seen by voting members.”