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Oscars change eligibility rules on nominations for next year in view of Covid-19

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board is allowing films that were supposed to be released in theatres, but have not yet been screened in a theatre, to now be screened online and still be eligible to be nominated for an award

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MONDAY (Apr 28) – In the midst of Covid-19, the world and everything in it has seemingly changed in one way or another and the movies are not immune to these changes either. Movie theatres, film festivals, even production companies are currently closed or on lockdown, changing the way people watch movies.

In an unprecedented move, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board has decided to alter some of their rules when it comes to films that are up for an Oscar next year. They are allowing films that were supposed to be released in theatres, but have not yet been screened in a theatre, to now be screened online and still be eligible to be nominated for an award.

Oscar rules dictate that in order for a film to be eligible for a nomination, it needs to play in a Los Angeles County commercial theatre for at least a week, or seven days straight. But due to these unique circumstances, the Oscars board had to put in a temporary change for next year’s nominations.

CEO Dawn Hudson and the Academy President David Rubin put together a written statement sharing, “The historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.” They also wrote, “We recognized the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”

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The decision also came after three large movie theatre chains were forced to temporarily close, the AMC, Cinemark and Regal. And at the moment, there is talk that these movie theatres will only open in either late June or July, although it is not clear if it will actually happen. But when the doors do open again, both Hudson and Rubin will be “on the frontlines,” encouraging movie enthusiasts to get back theatre seats once they do.

Although they are making these concessions for now, the academy admits that it won’t always be that way. Hudson and Rubin also said, “The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theatre. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering.”

The next Academy Awards are scheduled for February 28, 2021, in Hollywood. /TISG

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