Fueling the comeback of that one-time moviegoing staple the drive-in, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday said it has amended its previously announced pandemic-forced eligibility rules for the awards year ending on February 28, 2021. Here is the official word from the Academy about slight changes enacted at yesterday’s Board of Governors meeting:
“The Board initially made rule changes this past spring in response to theater closures, allowing films unable to screen in theaters to qualify via the Academy Screening Room. With the gradual re-opening of theaters, an addendum was added to clarify the two methods for qualification in the Best Picture and general entry categories moving forward through the end of this exceptional awards year (February 28, 2021.)
- Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify by making the film available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast.
- Films may qualify with a traditional theatrical release, completing a seven-day run in one of six qualifying cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta), screening at least three times daily, with at least one screening between 6 pm and 10 pm daily. Additionally, drive-in theaters in these cities will now qualify as a commercial venue, however, the screening requirement will be adjusted from three times daily to once daily. Films that have a theatrical release are not required to submit to the Academy Screening Room within 60 days—It is optional.”
Although the Academy made these changes in reaction to more theatres being opened, the fact remains that other than drive-ins, all indoor theaters in voter rich New York City and Los Angeles County remain closed, with no reopening date in sight, hence the adjustment to allow one nightly drive-in screening during a seven-day qualifying run.
The complete Rules Addendum will be posted at www.oscars.org/rules as a separate document under the 93rd Academy Awards Rules.
The Oscars ceremony for the 2020-21 season is set for April 26 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.