Apr 29, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that they will be modifying its current requirement of a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater in order for a film to be nominated for its various categories, including the prestigious Best Picture award.

According to the film academy, movies that had a previously planned theatrical release but are made available on a home video-on-demand service can now qualify as entries for best picture and other categories. This is due to the cancellation of major film festivals and the closure of movie theaters not just in America, but also worldwide, due to social distancing measures and prohibition of mass gatherings.

However, the Academy noted that this exemption will only be observed until theaters reopen. Furthermore, they are also looking into expanding beyond Los Angeles and including venues in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Atlanta as additional qualified theaters for the requirement.

“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,” said film academy president David Rubin.

According to Oscars CEO Dawn Hudson, they have been in “constant conversation with all parts of our community from studios to filmmakers to theater owners” as an effort to consider everyone’s benefit in making these decisions.

Other changes in the Oscars include all film academy members being eligible to vote in the first round for the international feature film category, which was formerly known as best foreign language film.

It will also put the two sound categories—sound mixing and sound editing—into one, which will now be called best achievement in sound. Moreover, it will prohibit DVD screeners for the 94th Oscars in 2020 as an effort to become more carbon neutral.

While there are no decisions yet regarding the annual Governors Awards which is usually held in Los Angeles during fall, plans for the 93rd Academy Awards set to be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2021 are still pushing through until further notice.


Header photo by Greg in Hollywood (Greg Hernandez) via Wikimedia Commons

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