The Recording Academy’s postponement of the 2021 Grammy Awards from Jan. 31 to March 14 means “music’s biggest night” will be going head-to-head with the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
SAG-AFTRA, which announced that date more than six months ago — on July 2, 2020 — was unhappy with the Grammys’ move.
“We are extremely disappointed to hear of the conflicting date, March 14th, announced today for this year’s Grammy Awards telecast,” the guild said in a statement released on Tuesday (Jan. 5), hours after the Recording Academy announced its move.
“We announced the same date for the SAG Awards last July with the intent to give the greatest possible scheduling consideration for other awards shows. We expect the same consideration from sister organizations throughout the industry.”
This is the second year in a row that there was a scheduling conflict involving these two shows. Last year, the 26th Annual SAG Awards were originally scheduled for Jan. 26, 2020. But when the Grammy Awards were announced for the same date, SAG-AFTRA moved the SAG Awards a week up, to Jan. 19.
Last year’s scheduling conflict was of course pre-COVID-19. This year’s conflict is a direct result of the chaos that the pandemic has caused in every aspect of American life, including a logjam of award shows.
Yesterday, the Recording Academy was gearing up to announce a postponement to March 21. But that date was moved up one week before the official announcement was made at 3:24 p.m. PT.
The Grammys and the SAG Awards are both must-see award shows. The Grammys, of course, have long promoted themselves as “music’s biggest night.” The SAG Awards are widely seen as the most important bellwether for the Academy Awards. The key winners at the SAG Awards often, though not always, go on to win Oscars.
Last year, Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern all won SAG Awards on their way to winning Oscars. And the cast of Parasite won the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. Parasite won the Oscar for best picture.
“The SAG Awards recognizes outstanding acting performances over the past year,” the SAG-AFTRA statement continues.
“We will again put on a spectacular show that accomplishes that mission. Our two organizations, SAG-AFTRA and the Recording Academy, share members and work together effectively to advocate for artists in many areas. In an environment that is increasingly challenging for televised awards programs, we also have a mutual interest in successfully showcasing the artistry and talent of our respective memberships. We are in contact with the Recording Academy and will continue to work with our sister organizations to find ways to make this year’s awards season as successful as possible.”
As part of the move to March 14, the SAG Awards extended this year’s eligibility period by two months, including all works exhibited or broadcast between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021. Nominations for the 27th Annual SAG Awards will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 4.
The Grammys did not alter their eligibility year, which ran from Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020. Nominations were announced on Nov. 24. The final round of voting ended on Jan. 4, which means the winners’ (and losers’) fates will have been sealed for 10 weeks by the time they are announced on March 14.
Yesterday’s Grammy statement read: “After thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear, we are rescheduling the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards to be broadcast Sunday, March 14, 2021. The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.
“We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”
The statement was signed by Harvey Mason jr., chair & interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy; Jack Sussman, executive vice president, specials, music, live events and alternative programming, CBS; and Ben Winston, Grammy Awards executive producer and principal in Fulwell 73 Productions.