- The Academy announces new eligibility rules to meet as movies forgo theatrical releases.
The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved updated rules and campaign regulations for the 93rd Academy Awards. Streamed films will be eligible for Oscars only for this year. The Sound Mixing and Sound Editing Awards will be combined into one sound category. Changes have been set in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has forced movie theaters to close.
For the 93rd Awards year only, movies that originally had planned a theatrical release but are made available on a commercial streaming platform or VOD service will be able to qualify for Best Picture, general entry, and specialty categories category. To qualify, the films must be made available on the secure, member-only Academy Screening Room streaming site within 60 days of the movie’s release on VOD or streaming. The film will still have to meet all the other eligibility requirements.
The original rule stated that a film must be shown in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for a theatrical qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily.
Once theaters reopen, the Academy will determine a date when this exemption will no longer apply. When the date is announced, films released after will have to comply with the standard qualifying requirements.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. 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,” said Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson.
After this exemption, The Academy will expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include the City of New York; the Bay Area; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia to make meeting the theatrical exhibition requirement easier to meet.
Films that were to be shown in film festivals that were affected by the pandemic may provide films online behind a paywall or password-protected entry which will not affect the film for any future qualifications. The Academy will also allow exemptions for films released online through the festival’s platform with proof of inclusion in the festival.
The Sound, Music, and International Feature Film categories have also received a change. Sound Mixing and Sound Editing will be combined into one award for Best Achievement in Sound. The awarded Oscars statuettes remain the same with up to six being awarded. It can include one production sound mixer, two supervising sound editors, and three re-recording mixers.
The Music (Original Score) category is changed to allow scores with a minimum of 60% original music, sequels and franchise films must have a minimum of 80% new music.
The International Feature Film will allow all eligible Academy members to participate in the preliminary round of voting and films submissions will be available through the Academy Screening Room for the first time. The voting committee must meet a minimum viewing requirement to vote.
Another change eliminated the regulation about quotes or comments by Academy members that aren’t associated directly with the film in any form of advertising online or in social media but remain for Academy governors and Awards and Events Committee members.
For sustainability purposes, this will be the final year DVD screeners will be used. Starting 2021 for the 94th Academy Awards, eligible releases will be available on the Academy Screening Room.
The 93rd Oscars telecast is still scheduled to air Sunday, February 28, 2021, on ABC.
The complete 93rd Academy Awards rules, is available at oscars.org/rules.