Oscars 2021 will admit streamed films due to coronavirus

For one year only, films available exclusively through streaming services will be eligible for awards at the Oscars, news wires reported

Under normal rules, a film must have been shown in cinemas in Los Angeles to be eligible, but the Academy has temporarily relaxed the criteria as the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered theatres.

"Films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards," a statement said. Once theatres reopen under guidelines from the authorities the streaming exception will no longer apply, the Academy said.

Movie theatres across the United States shut their doors in mid-March, forcing the postponement of major film releases. The three main US movie theatre chains - AMC, Regal and Cinemark - have said they do not expect to reopen until late June or July. Some films, including Universal Pictures animated Trolls World Tour, have been released directly to streaming platforms or video on demand.

Universal will do the same with the upcoming Judd Apatow comedy The King of Staten Island, while Walt Disney has announced it will release children’s fantasy film Artemis Fowl on its Disney+ streaming platform rather than wait for theatres to reopen. Others are expected to follow.

 The next Oscar ceremony is set for 28 February, 2021.


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