Streamed films will be eligible for next year's Oscars in response to the Covid-19 pandemic closing cinemas across the U.S., the film academy has said.
Movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible for the Oscars, but only for this year.
Previously, a film would have to have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater in order to be eligible for an Oscar.
The Academy, seen as the apex body of the Hollywood film industry, insisted that its commitment to viewing "the magic of movies" at a theatre is "unchanged and unwavering".
Another major changes announced after a virtual meeting of the Academy's board on Tuesday is the merging of sound mixing and sound editing into one category: best sound. "Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules", President David Rubin and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said, referring to the disease caused by the virus.
Another change: all Academy members will now be able to vote to determine the best global feature shortlist, as opposed to only those who are willing to attend screenings in Beverly Hills.
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The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of its streaming or VOD release.
Once theatres reopen, the Academy will set a date from which the rule change will no longer apply, and standard theatrical qualifying requirements will return.
For specific films aired at these film festivals to qualify for an exemption, proof must be submitted that the film was part of the festival.
Last month the Golden Globes became the first to relax entry rules, allowing films that had planned "a bona fide theatrical release" to compete even if the release was later scrapped.
Furthermore, while the adjusted rule applies to the next Oscars ceremony, scheduled for February 27, 2021 and covering films released during the 2020 calendar year, it is not intended as a permanent shift.