With the coronavirus pandemic affecting movie production, release plans, and more, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced temporary rule changes for the 93rd Academy Awards. Among the biggest changes is a hold on the standard requirement that a film be shown in a Los Angeles County theater for at least a week to merit consideration. Since theaters across the country have been shut down of late, the change affects films that were originally intended for theatrical release before conditions warranted a switch to streaming and VOD services.
“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. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules,” Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.
Additionally, the theater requirement is also being expanded to include areas outside Los Angeles County, including New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta — potentially in case theaters in those areas open up sooner than those in California.
After the 93rd Oscars, the Academy says it’s also moving away from distributing DVD-based screeners, music CDs, and other physical materials and shifting toward links to digital versions.
As for the Oscars show itself, the event is still scheduled to air on February 28th, 2021 on ABC.
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