The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars, has modified its film eligibility requirements temporarily amid the coronavirus pandemic, Variety reports. Streaming films will now be allowed for Oscars consideration.
The Academy’s board of governors temporarily waived its requirement that a film must have a week-long theatrical run in a commercial movie theater in Los Angeles in order to qualify for Oscars consideration.
Under the new rule, films that are released digitally without a theater release are eligible for consideration. A caveat is that only films that initially had a planned theatrical release will be eligible. The movie must also be available on the Academy Screening Room members-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or video-on-demand release. Once theaters reopen, the original theater requirement rule will apply, but the qualifying theaters will expand beyond Los Angeles, to include ones in New York, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and the Bay area.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”
The Academy also announced changes for the sound mixing and sound editing categories. The two will now be combined into one best sound category, which brings the number of Oscars presented during the Academy Awards telecast down from 24 to 23. Meanwhile, the original score category now has a requirement that at least 60 percent of the film’s score must be original.