The Wrap reports that Disney and Lucasfilm won't be screening the next Star Wars film so it can be entered in any of the major awards season races. That means no National Board of Review, no Screen Actors Guild, and not even us in the Washington DC Area film Critics Association will see it ahead of our awards in a few weeks. And really, what's the incentive for them to show it? Is there anyone sitting around waiting to see if it wins any awards before buying a ticket? Of course not. And knowing my critical colleagues somebody will put out an early review and leak some major spoiler, which we all know would drive J.J. Abrams nutso. Holding on to secrecy is really the chief reason behind this decision.
Now, does this mean the film won't be screened at all? Not necessarily, but it may be really close to the theatrical release date to cut down on the chances of a leak. It's going to make a bajillion dollars whether critics love it or not. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18th.