UPDATE: The Academy ultimately decided not to significantly change the timing of the ceremony in 2012 but said it will continue to evaluate the pros and cons of the idea for the future.
At the rate they're going, the Oscars may be competing with Santa Claus.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is considering shifting the Academy Awards ceremony from its current slot in late February up a month in a bid to boost TV ratings and reclaim some of its luster.
Guess 10 Best Picture nominees and a Twilight-heavy montage didn't exactly cut it.
The Academy's executive director, Bruce Davis, tells the Los Angeles Times that while the 2011 ceremony is still set for Feb. 27, the 2010 edition could move to late January or early February.
There's one catch: pro football. With the NFL proposing to extend its regular season by two games, the playoffs and Super Bowl might prevent a bumped-up Oscars.
"There are only a limited number of Sundays in January and February," Davis says. "I think some people feel it has lost some of its energy, and we're looking for energy."
ABC has reportedly signed off on the move, but there are other complications beyond the NFL.
"It's not a done deal yet," Academy President Tom Sherak tells E! News. "I think we would like to do it. Progress is being made, but we don't have it all right just yet."
The Oscar brain trust feels something needs to be done to make Hollywood's most glittery night stand above the umpteen other awards handed out in January and February.
As it stands, 2011 will see the Critics' Choice Awards air on VH1 Jan. 14; the Golden Globes on NBC Jan. 16; the Screen Actors Guild Awards on TNT and TBS Jan. 30; followed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA) on BBC America Feb. 13.
If the Academy Awards moved to the end of January, it's quite possible most of those events could end up being held in December. The domino effect would also impact the early critics and guild awards that aren't broadcast on TV (National Board of Review, Los Angeles and New York critics awards, the AFI Awards, and the directors, producers and writers guilds awards, among others).
"We still are the mother of all awards shows," says Sherak. "But in today's world, everybody wants it now. People don't want to wait. You need to stay relevant."
An earlier telecast would also have repercussions for how Oscar voters not only cast their ballots but watch nominated films as well. There's talk of creating a secure online system to stream movies to Academy members—of course, that would mean people would be voting on films watched on a PC, not in a movie theater.
We're sure that will go over well.