Movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible for the Oscars, but only for this year. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced the change for the 93rd Academy Awards as a response to how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the film industry. Oscars eligibility has been a major question since stay-at-home and social distancing orders led to both the cancellation of major film festivals and the closure of movie theaters, the AP reports. Previously, a film would have to have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater in order to be considered for film's highest honor.
Now, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are made available on a home video on demand service may qualify for best picture and other categories. "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," said Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement. “Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules." The academy's board noted, however, that when theaters reopen, the rules exemption will no longer apply. Many expect cinemas nationwide to reopen by June or July.
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