Date: 29th April 2020

Oscars 2021: Academy Relaxes Eligibility Rules.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made some big announcements Tuesday regarding the 2021 Oscars, but insiders say they probably won't have too much impact on today's awards business.

The coronavirus pandemic shutdown has forced a rethink of much of the way entertainment industry does things, especially some of its more ceremonial traditions and eligibility rules. It's on the latter front that AMPAS has decided to shake things up - at least until the current pandemic crisis passes.

"I wasn't surprised by anything", one awards consultant said. "I had a feeling most of this was coming."

Getting the most traction is the temporary rule change that films will no longer be required to have a seven-day theatrical run in Los Angeles County to be eligible for Oscar consideration. With theaters closed under a state mandate in California, the Academy's board of governors voted to allow films with digital releases to enter the Oscar race.

If you think that means Netflix will put every single of its films up for Oscar gold, it's not going work like that. Studios have to show that the film they are releasing via a streaming service or by VOD also had a planned theatrical release. In other words, the Olivia Munn rom-com “Love Wedding Repeat” will not be up for best pic, and Chris Hemsworth won't be suddenly thrown on the campaign trail for a best actor nod for "Extraction".

Movies that debut on VOD and streaming services will now be eligible for the Academy Awards so long as they were scheduled for theatrical release at one point. That means that Universal's Trolls World Tour, which skipped theaters in favor of a VOD release, will be eligible for the Best Animated Feature award, but HBO’s Hugh Jackman drama Bad Education, which is one of the best films of the year, would not be eligible because it was never intended to play in theaters. All of those VOD/streaming titles will have to be made available to Academy voters via the organization’s members-only streaming service, Academy Screening Room, within 60 days of their non-theatrical debut. Once theaters do reopen, all of those films will be required to book a seven-day run in theaters in order to be eligible.

Source: Press Release