Oscars eligibility rules being tweaked amidst pandemic
With theaters being shut down around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it will be tweaking its eligibility rules for the 2021 event, according to Variety.
The board of governors met on Tuesday and approved a temporary hold on the requirement that a film must have a seven-day theatrical run in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County to qualify for the Oscars, a groundbreaking move that paves the way for films to skip theatrical releases and still be afforded the chance to win Oscar gold.
“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.”
Though the eligibility has loosened for nominations, not every film released digitally will be considered, as the film must still have had a planned theatrical release and must also be made available on the Academy Screening Room members-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release. Once theaters re-open, the seven-day window rule will be reinstated, though films that have already streamed will not have to be re-released into theaters, and the Academy expanding the number of qualifying theaters beyond LA County to New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.
In addition to eligibility changes, the Academy has announced it will also be eliminating an Oscar category, combining the sound mixing and sound editing categories into one award to reduce the total number of categories presented on the show to 23. For the new original score category, the board voted a score must comprise a minimum of 60% original music while sequels and franchise films must have a minimum of 80% new music in each score to be considered.
All members will also be invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting for international feature film for the first time in the Academy’s history. The 93rd Oscars telecast is slated to air on Feb. 28, 2021 on ABC.
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