Streamed movies to be eligible for Oscars after coronavirus closes cinemas
Movies streamed online will be eligible for next year’s Oscars after cinemas were closed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The “historically tragic” disease means a “temporary exception” is required, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said.
Cinemas across the US have been closed since the middle of March and major film releases have been postponed.
Some, including Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour, have been released directly onto streaming platforms or video on demand.
The three main US cinema chains – AMC, Regal and Cinemark – have said it will be late June or July before they reopen.
Under normal rules, a film must be shown in a commercial cinema in Los Angeles for at least seven consecutive days, and there must be at least three daily screenings.
To make it easier for movies to be in contention, the academy is expanding its qualifying theatres beyond Los Angeles County to include New York, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay Area.
When cinemas have reopened following the COVID-19 outbreak – at a date yet to be determined – the usual regulations will kick back in.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theatre,” said President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson.
“Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering.
“Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”
The next Academy Awards are due to be held on 28 February 2021.