The Academy Awards will permit films that debuted on a streaming service without a cinema run to quality for nominations, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This marks the first time that streaming films will be eligible to run, but the change is not permanent and will only apply to films released in 2020.
The decision, which was recently announced comes after coronavirus severely impacted the film industry, prompting the cancellation of manor film festivals including SXSW and Cannes, as well as the closure of cinemas across the globe.
Under past rules, a film was required to secure a theatrical run of at least seven days in a Los Angeles commercial cinema in order to qualify for the Best Picture award.
But films that have been forced to abandon their cinema release and go straight to streaming services can now qualify for Best Picture and various other categories.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering,” said David Rubin, Academy president, and CEO Dawn Hudson, in a statement.
“Nonetheless, the historically tragic Covid-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”
However, the Academy has also noted that the exemption will no longer apply when theaters eventually re-open. If that happens this summer, then the Academy will expand the qualifying cinemas beyond LA to include screens in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, and Atlanta.