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Honorary Oscars gala delayed as Hollywood braces for Omicron

By Agence France-Presse Published Dec 23, 2021 10:00 am

The Governors Awards—an annual gala where honorary Oscars are handed out—became the latest glitzy Hollywood event postponed Wednesday, Dec. 22, as fears grow of a surge in coronavirus cases fueled by the Omicron variant. 

Actors Samuel L Jackson and Danny Glover, Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann and actress-director Elaine May had been due to receive golden statuettes to honor their careers next month at an event that typically draws a who's who of Tinseltown. 

"We have made the difficult decision to change our plans in hosting the Governors Awards in person on January 15," the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement. 

"Given the uncertainties around the variants, and the impact this could have on our community, we feel this is the best and safest decision for our honorees and guests." 

Last year's Governors Awards were cancelled due to the pandemic, although the main Oscars ceremony went ahead in person in April. 

The Academy statement said "rescheduled plans will come at a later date" for this season's Governors Awards, while the Oscars themselves are still currently set to take place on March 27. 

The start to Hollywood's annual film award season had seen a return to in-person premieres, galas and receptions in recent months. 

But several events have been scrapped or delayed in just the past few days, including a red-carpet event for new Star Wars series The Book of Boba Fett, the Palm Springs International Film Festival gala, the annual BAFTA Los Angeles Tea Party and a premiere for Peter Dinklage musical Cyrano. 

California currently boasts the lowest positivity rate of any US state at 3.3%, and continues "to lead the nation in terms of administered doses of vaccine," Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. 

But California has still "seen a significant increase in the number of identified cases of Covid" in the past week, he warned. Data suggests Omicron has become the main variant for new cases in the state. 

While A-list film events are disappearing, movie theaters are enjoying a rare spell of positive news, with Spider-Man: No Way Home obliterating box office records. 

The superhero film took in $260 million at domestic theaters on its first weekend. No other film opening during the pandemic had previously reached $100 million. (AFP)