I don't know how much stock to put in Deadline Hollywood's "breaking" rumor -- how is a rumor, "exclusive news"? Discuss -- that AMPAS is debating about moving the Oscars to January. If it is true, or rather, if after discussing it (which is all the "news" states), they actually decide to do it, I can't imagine we'll see that happen until the 2011/2012 race.
Pros: Hollywood might actually release the films in the same calendar year that they're supposedly being honored for. You'd think that last year's Best Picture race, in which summer > December by a 4/2 Best Picture nominee margin (including the actual winner), would have helped convince distributors to spread out the prestige pieces in 2010 but that doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe a January awards ceremony would help? This would also help to stop confusing 'which year are you talking about?' questions that come up in Oscar discussions. When someone says "the 2008 Oscar winner!" do they mean Slumdog Millionaire (released in 2008, winning in 2009) or do they mean No Country For Old Men (released in 2007, winning in 2008)? The Film Experience always go by the year of release y'hear, but the later the Oscars are the more other people don't (including the IMDB) which makes things confusing. A January ceremony could potentially make November the month of choice for adult oriented studio releases which would be a better alternative from a moviegoing perspective than Christmas. November is far less hectic than December. Plus, why wouldn't Hollywood want the holiday money twice over (first by opening limited in November, second by expanding at Christmas time) ? I'll never understand why they ignore Thanksgiving the way they do.
Cons: It's very possible that the December releasing with platforms stretching until March and April is so ingrained in Hollywood's DNA now that they wouldn't think to start earlier to alleviate concerns about whether or not the movies are actually being seen. And, actually, from a big studio perspective, they might prefer that the films aren't seen. It's much easier to buy votes if people are voting on buzz and "looks good on paper" than on their actual firsthand relationship to the film; Buzz can be bought but personal feelings are difficult to purchase. An earlier awards ceremony could also mean that we see even less discernment in Oscar nominations and winners than we do now, and even less careful consideration of merits from the critics and precursor groups (obviously if Oscar moves earlier everyone else will too which means you'll see critics groups voting in November before they've seen everything). Nobody wants Oscar's choices to get yet more repetitive and blah.
What say ye?