Oscars 2021: Films That Had To Skip Cinemas Can Compete


by James White |
Published on

The current pandemic has rocked the world of entertainment, and film has been far from immune. Cinemas have had to close their doors for months and studios have been left with nowhere to open their films. Now the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that in a big – but predictable – change to the rules, movies that debuted via video on demand venues will still be eligible for the Oscars.

Under the traditional Oscars rules, a film had to play for at least seven days in a commercial cinema in Los Angeles County to qualify. But now, with several films - including Trolls World Tour switching their release plans to home entertainment, that law is being temporarily put on hold. Specifically, however, that's for films that were always intending to hit cinemas, but that had to be moved because of the closures. And when cinemas re-open, the rule will once again be in effect, though modified to include more parts of the United States.

"The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater," Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. "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 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."

And on the same day, the Academy also announced that it is eliminating the split between sound mixing and sound editing, a change that was decided upon by members of the branch. That reduces the category count to 23, but we'd bet the show will still run long.

The Oscars will air on 28 February next year.

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