Movies released through streaming services will still be eligible for Academy Awards

By Camden Mondeaux on May 1, 2020
Academy Awards
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 28: View of the stage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Movies that skipped the theaters and went straight to streaming services will still be eligible for the Academy Awards, but only for this year. 

By: Cami Mondeaux

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the updated change for the 93rd Academy Awards announced Tuesday, responding to the impacts the coronavirus has had on the film industry.

It will also combine two sound categories (sound mixing and sound editing categories will become best achievement in sound) into one while prohibiting DVD screeners for the 2022 Oscars in an effort to become more carbon neutral.

Eligibility for the Oscars requires a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater to be considered. But, with stay-at-home and social distancing orders leading to cancellations of major films and the closure of movie theaters resulting in many films being released on streaming services instead — those movies may now qualify for best picture and other categories.

“We’re dealing with the unfolding reality of an unanticipated, unprecedented global health crisis and trying to be responsive to what’s going on in the world and at the same time support our filmmakers who are in a circumstance beyond their control,” film academy president David Rubin told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Dawn Hudson, the CEO of the film academy, said they have held conversations with different filmmakers and theater owners to make a decision that supports all aspects of the situation.

However, the academy’s board noted these rule exemptions will no longer apply when theaters begin to reopen — which many expect will happen nationwide by June or July. If that happens, the film academy will expand qualifying theaters to those in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Atlanta.

Changes in the film academy’s response in light of COVID-19 will continue to be fluid, with the 93rd Academy Awards still planned to go on as scheduled Feb. 28, 2021.

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