Oscars will now nominate movies released to streaming – but there’s a catch

Eligibility rules for the 93rd Academy Awards have been tweaked amid coronavirus crisis

Who votes for the Oscars, Getty

Much like every other high-profile event amid the coronavirus crisis, the Oscars will be somewhat different next year.

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The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony is still scheduled to take place on 28th February 2021, despite the ongoing cancellations and delays currently sweeping the film industry.

And on Tuesday, it was announced that the Academy was tweaking its eligibility rules in response to the pandemic’s effects on the industry.

Usually, films need to be screened in an LA theatre for at least seven days in order to qualify for entry, but this long-standing barrier has been temporarily lifted. This means that films released on streaming services or via VOD will be eligible for consideration.

Prospective films will need to be made available for members of the Academy to view on the organisation’s streaming service, Academy Screening Room, within 60 days of their digital release for a chance to win a statuette.

However, there is a catch. This doesn’t mean that any film that is released on VOD or a streaming service will automatically qualify. Only films which had a planned theatrical release, such as Trolls World Tour, but had to forgo it due to the current crisis will be eligible.

It has also been announced that the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories will be combined into an all-encompassing category called Best Sound.

Speaking of the decision to change the rules, Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement: “The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theatre.

“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 recognise the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”

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