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2021’s Oscar Will Allow Stream-Only Movies To Qualify But With Strict Conditions

By Chen Shun  /  05 May 2020 (Tuesday)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science will allow some movies this year that were released on streaming platforms and via digital release to qualify for the 2021 Oscars because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that every movie on all streaming service is suddenly qualified and are going to be eligible to be nominated. 

The board behind Oscars have decided that for a movie to be eligible for the 2021 Oscar’s it must fulfil the criteria — that a movie which winds up on a streaming service must have a previously planned theatrical release. Do note, to qualify for the Oscar as a nominee, a studio must let their movie run for at least seven days theatrically in a commercial theatre in Los Angeles County.

“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theatre,” 
Academy President David Rubin

With that being said, the Academy is still advising people to go to the theatres to experience the full cinematic experience. After the whole COVID-19 has passed and the theatres are reopened, studios that want their films to be eligible will once again have to release them into theatres for at least seven days. The Academy will also expand its number of qualifying theatres beyond Los Angeles to other parts of the USA including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta.

The Lovebirds
Prior to this year, the Academy had a tough fight against on-demand streaming service such as Netflix over the eligibility of running for a nomination in the Oscar. The new rules don’t suddenly allow streaming platforms to bypass the theatrical window needed, but it does allow studios to plan ahead and find ways to salvage unpredictable circumstances. One for instances is Paramount’s The Lovebirds. With this change of rule, we might see unexpected movies nominated at next year's Academy Award Show.
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