Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Oscars suspend movie theater rule due to coronavirus

AFP

LONDON: Movies that skip the big screen will be allowed to contend for Oscars this year, the Academy said in a significant rule change forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Traditionally the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires at least a seven-day run in Los Angeles theaters for movies to be eligible for Hollywood s biggest prize.

But picture houses in America s second city have been closed since mid-March, with no date set for them to reopen.

“Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming… platform may qualify,” the Academy said in a statement.

Debate has raged in recent years over Oscar contenders produced by streaming giants such as Netflix, including last year s “The Irishman” and 2018 s “Roma.”

Until now, the films have been shown at theaters for brief windows before moving online, in order to remain eligible.

The Academy, seen as the apex body of the Hollywood film industry, insisted that its commitment to viewing “the magic of movies” at a theater is “unchanged and unwavering.”

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

Once theaters reopen, the Academy will set a date from which the rule change will no longer apply, and standard theatrical qualifying requirements will return.

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