Oscars To Allow Movies That Never Played In Theaters Due To Coronavirus

ShutterStock/Ken Wolter

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
Font Size:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to temporarily change one of its requirements due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Board of Governors decided Tuesday to suspend the eligibility rule that says a film must have been in theaters for seven days in Los Angeles County in order to qualify for the Oscars, according to Variety. (RELATED: Watch The Latest Electric Trailer For ‘Captain Marvel’)

“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 shared in a statement about the decision.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Academy Oscars (@theacademyawards.oscars) on

“Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering,” he added, according to Variety. “Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”(RELATED: Pearl Jam Postpones North American Tour Over Growing Coronavirus Concerns)

The statement continued, noting that 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.”

Under the new rule, films that were released digitally without playing in theaters will be available for consideration. However, there are a few restrictions to that rule. In order to be considered, the film must have already set up a theatrical release and must also be accessible on the Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or on-demand launch.

According to the report:

Once movie theaters are allowed to re-open, the seven-day window will once again be required for eligibility. Pics that have already streamed will not have to then be released in theaters. When theaters re-open, the Academy will also expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is also adjusting its film eligibility rules for the 2021 Golden Globes due to the pandemic. The organization is set to review movies that were planned to be released in Los Angeles starting March 15. Previously, the HFPA would only review movies with a theatrical release or those placed on pay-per-view cable or pay-per-view digital delivery in the greater Los Angeles area for at least seven days before Dec. 31.

The 93rd Oscars, at this point, is still scheduled to air Feb. 28, 2021 on ABC.