With movie theaters shut down due to COVID-19, the Academy Awards have adjusted its eligibility requirements for Best Picture

By Alexia Fernández
April 28, 2020 05:53 PM
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Oscar Statues
Academy Awards
| Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty

The Academy Awards show will go on — with a couple of adjustments.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Twitter Tuesday that its show for Feb. 28, 2021, will still take place.

A major change made by the Academy was the inclusion of streamed films for Best Picture eligibility, whereas previously films distributed by streaming sites needed to hit movie theaters for a minimum of seven days in order to meet requirements.

Due to COVID-19, those rules have changed as states have implemented stay at home and social distancing orders to lower the number of coronavirus cases within the U.S, resulting in theaters closing nationwide.

"Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions," the Academy stated on its website. "1. 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; 2. The film must meet all other eligibility requirements."

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This rules exemption will no longer apply for further editions of the show, the Academy said.

"The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater.  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 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."

Going forward, the awards categories of Sound Mixing and Sound Editing will be combined into one category, Best Sound.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S. and around the world, movie studios have had to readjust expected release dates. Several studios, such as Marvel Studios, pushed back dates for highly-anticipated films such as Black WidowThe Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder.

Disney has also pushed back its slate of films, including for Mulan which was intended to debut in theaters in early Spring. The film is now set to be released in July 24.

Universal meanwhile opted to have its animated film Trolls World Tour bypass theaters altogether to land on digital platforms.

As for Tuesday, there are now at least 987,691 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, the most worldwide. At least 50,819 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illness.

The U.S. has the most cases in the world, over three times more than the next country. Worldwide, there are now 3,061,521 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 212,083 deaths.