29 Apr – Due to the unique situation that the film industry is facing right now, that is the massive postponement of movies since cinemas worldwide are temporarily shut down, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is loosening its movie theatre rule for next year's Oscars.
Just for movies that are released this year, streaming-only titles will be allowed to be submitted for the 93rd Academy Awards.
Previously, each submitted feature film is required to have at least seven days of theatrical screening in a Los Angeles County commercial theater in order to qualify for the Oscars. But for this year, that requirement will no longer apply, according to a press statement on the Oscars' official website.
However, the submitted film would still be required to have a previously planned theatrical release, even if the release didn't pan out and it ends up premiering online instead.
This means movies like "The Lovebirds" and "Troll World Tour" are eligible for submission even though both opened on streaming platforms instead of in cinemas, as both movies were originally set to be released in theaters before the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt.
The movie must also be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of its streaming or VOD release.
This isn't a set solution, however, as it was also stated that, "On a date to be determined by the Academy, and when theaters reopen in accordance with federal, state and local specified guidelines and criteria, this rules exemption will no longer apply. All films released thereafter will be expected to comply with the standard Academy theatrical qualifying requirements."
To help make it easier for movies to meet theatrical exhibition requirements when cinemas reopen, the number of qualifying theaters will be extended beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in additional U.S. metropolitan areas: the City of New York; the Bay Area; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Aside from this, it was also announced that the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories have been combined into one award for Best Achievement in Sound, submissions for the Music (Original Score) category must meet a minimum requirement of 60% original music (or 80% for sequels and franchise films), and all eligible Academy members can now participate in the preliminary round of voting for the International Feature Film category.
The 93rd Academy Awards is set to be held in Los Angeles on 28 February 2021.