LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science will allow some films released on streaming platforms and via digital release to qualify for the 2021 Oscars — though the board of governors was very clear that the shift in eligibility requirements does not mean that every film that premiered this year on a streaming service would be eligible for nomination.
In order to qualify for nomination, a film must have had a previously planned theatrical release in Los Angeles County that was preempted by mandated movie theater closures and must meet all other eligibility requirements.
The requirements still restrict films produced by, and premiered on, streaming services from qualifying, but does mean that a movie like “Trolls World Tour” could still qualify for a Best Animated Picture, despite its nontraditional release.
“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 press release. “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 change is temporary, though, and once movie theaters reopen, studios that want their films to be eligible will once again have to release them into theaters for at least seven days, but not necessarily within L.A. County.
The Academy will expand the number of qualifying theaters to include the Bay Area, New York City, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.
The press release also noted that because of the “shifting landscape surrounding the global pandemic caused by COVID-19,” all rules and matters of eligibility were still subject to change.
Full eligibility rules can be found on the AMPAS website.