Streaming films eligible for Oscars, but for 1 year only

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the change for the 2021 Academy Awards as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Regina King, winner of Best Supporting Actress for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ poses in the press room during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible for the Oscars, but only this year.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced the change for the 93rd Academy Awards as a response to how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the film industry.

The film academy also said it will condense the two sound categories into one and prohibit DVD screeners for 2022′s 94th Oscars in an effort to become more carbon neutral.

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The question of eligibility has been a major question since stay at home and social distancing orders led to both the cancellation of major film festivals and the closure of movie theaters. Previously, a film would have to have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater in order to be Oscar eligible. Now films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are made available on a home video on demand service may qualify for best picture and other categories.

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“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,” said Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement. “Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”

The 93rd Academy Awards are scheduled to be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2021.

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