Streamed films to be eligible for 2021 Oscars due to coronavirus pandemic
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Streamed films to be eligible for 2021 Oscars due to coronavirus pandemic

Films that were unable to show in cinemas due to the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for the 2021 Academy Awards.

An Oscar statue is pictured at the press preview for the 91st Academy Awards Governors Ball, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which organizes the Oscars, announced on Tuesday that they were making temporary changes to their eligibility criteria as a result of cinemas being closed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Previously, to be eligible for consideration for Oscars glory, films had to be shown in a commercial cinema in Los Angeles County for a theatrical run of at least seven consecutive days. Now, movies which had a planned theatrical run but had to be released on streaming or video-on-demand services instead may qualify for categories, including Best Picture, for the 93rd Academy Awards.

“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 chief executive officer Dawn Hudson in a statement. “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.”

All films released after cinemas fully reopen will be expected to comply with the traditional rules, although the Academy will expand the number of qualifying cinema locations to include cities such as New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Atlanta.

In addition, the Academy’s Board of Governors also announced that the sound editing and sound mixing categories would be combined into one from now on and that all eligible Academy members will be invited to vote in the preliminary round of voting for the Best International Feature Film category.

And as part of their sustainability effort, they will stop distributing physical DVD screeners following the 2021 awards show, which is set to take place on 28 February.

– Cover Media

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