The Academy Changes Oscars Eligibility Criteria For COVID-19 Year, Will Consider Digital Releases


By Sanyukta Thakare; The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) that hosts the annual Academy Awards aka Oscar Awards will now consider films that get digital releases too for the awards, as opposed to the previous rule, according to which only films with theatrical releases were considered for nomination. While the rule change saw some opposition from the board members, it has been approved for the current year, due to the hold on theatrical releases during the Corona virus outbreak.

Films have not been released in the past two months, since theaters have been closed down across many parts of the world owing to the pandemic, and studios have begun to rely on digital releases.

While many have chosen to delay releases until 2021, makers who have financial constraints have gone digital. The industry is currently looking at heavy losses with theaters even closing down. It led many producers to question the Academy Award’s rule of movies being shown on the big screen for at least a week to qualify for the Oscars. The Academy members David Rubin and Dawn Hudson still believe that there is “no greater way” to experience a film than in theaters and the change has only been made to support “members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty.” According to reports, voters will receive DVD screeners and soundtrack CDs to evaluate entries for the year.

Once it is safer for the theaters to open, a film that is released outside Los Angeles for at least a week on the big screen, will also qualify for Oscars 2021. However, for the current year the rule change could mean a lot for streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, etc.