The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, known as The Academy to many, has released the rules and campaign regulations for the 93rd Academy Awards scheduled for February 28, 2021.
For this year only, The Academy’s Board of Governors has greenlighted the eligibility of streaming-only films to be considered for Best Picture and specialty awards. The previous ruling on eligibility requires that films must be shown in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County, with a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, with at least three showings daily.
Once theaters reopen following government guidelines and stipulations, the Academy will be setting a date for when the streaming-only rule will no longer apply. For now, films that had a planned theatrical release but are now made available on commercial streaming platforms, due to quarantine and lockdown measures will be considered eligible. However, films that have already been streaming before lockdown measures were put in place will not be eligible for the award.
In a press release, Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson’s commitment to theatrical releases are unchanged and unwavering. They continue, “The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. “
However, the current global pandemic is leading them to a necessary exception for their 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.”
Last year, Best Picture nominees “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman” had a limited theatrical release before being available exclusively for streaming on Netflix in order to qualify for the award show.
Aside from eligibility rules, amendments to the Sound and International Feature Film Category. Sound Mixing and Sound Editing has been combined into one award, Best Sound. In the Original Score category, the score must comprise a minimum of 60 percent original music in order to be eligible for the award. In the International Feature Film category, all eligible Academy members will now be eligible to participate in the preliminary round of voting.