The Oscars Board of Governors has announced that certain films which are available exclusively on digital platforms will qualify for the Best Picture, general entry, and speciality categories at the 2021 Oscars.
This is a temporary measure that has been implemented due to to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down movie theatres across the world.
Movies that qualify under this temporary amendment must have had a previously-planned release in theatres, but due to the pandemic are now only released digitally.
Other provisions these films must satisfy are:
- The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release.
- The film must meet all other eligibility requirements.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theatre. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering,” said Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson.
“Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”
“The Academy supports its 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.”
The Oscars board added that once US theatres have reopened, and on a date it determines, these temporary measures will no longer apply, and all new films will then be expected to comply with the traditional requirements.
“Film festivals that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may provide films online through either a transactional paywall or password-protected entry, which will not affect the films’ eligibility for future Academy Awards qualification,” added the Oscars board.
For specific films aired at these film festivals to qualify for an exemption, proof must be submitted that the film was part of the festival.
“Films will be expected to comply with all other eligibility requirements for the 93rd Academy Awards,” said the board.