The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will again amend its rules this year, allowing films that premiere on video-streaming services to qualify for Oscar consideration, despite the traditional requirement that they open in theaters first.
The rule change was instituted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced movie theaters nationwide to close.
For the upcoming 94th Oscars, films can qualify for award consideration if they are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, video-on-demand or other forms of broadcast. Academy officials said the change was being extended due to “theatrical exhibition still impacted by the pandemic this year.”
The Oscar eligibility period is March 1, 2021, through Dec. 31.
Films that premiere in non-theatrical formats must be made available on the Academy’s secure Screening Room site for members within 60 days of premiering.
Films that premiere in theaters must do so for seven consecutive days in either Los Angeles County, New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami or Atlanta.
The Academy previously announced that the Best Picture category will be firmly set at 10 nominees, rather than a fluctuating number.
The 94th Oscars will be held March 27, returning to its traditional home at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Nominations will be announced Feb. 8.