The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has said it will temporarily consider movies on commercial streaming platforms for Oscars eligibility this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent years, the Oscars have admitted films made by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon but only if they have also had a cinema release.
The Oscars board of governors took this decision on Tuesday, according to a statement on its website. The governors said they approved the Oscars rule changes in a virtual meeting.
They cited how COVID-19 has closed theatres across the country and specifically in Los Angeles County, where movies had been required to be shown to qualify.
To be eligible, they say, the films must be made available to the Academy Screening Room, the member-only streaming site, within 60 days of streaming or VOD release, as well as meeting all other eligibility requirements.
They also added those film festivals that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may provide films online through either a transactional paywall or password-protected entry.
They added that it will not affect the films’ eligibility for future Academy Awards qualification.
The Academy also added it would allow an exemption for those films that are released online through an impacted festival’s online platform, provided that proof of inclusion in the festival is submitted.
“With these provisions, films will be expected to comply with all other eligibility requirements for the 93rd Academy Awards,” their statement read.
The board also announced rules changes in the Sound, Music, and International Feature Film categories.
For the first time, film submissions will be made available through the Academy Screening Room streaming platform to those members who opt-in.
Film critics have said this is the weirdest Oscar ever.
They are already predicting what might become of the 2021 Oscars if the only films eligible are those that had a qualifying theatrical release in 2020.
Furthermore, many wonder what will happen, if in a completely unprecedented scenario, no movies are released in 2020 all thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is the big question begging for answers.
But, all things being equal, the 93rd Academy Awards will hold on March 1, 2021, at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, California, United States.