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Film Academy is considering postponing 2021 Oscars

Film Academy ‘is considering postponing 2021 Oscars’ amid ongoing pandemic… and movies that debuted on a streaming service will be eligible for a gong for the first time

  • The 93rd Academy Awards are set to take place on February 28 2021  
  • Last month, Academy President David Rubin said it was too soon to know how the 2021 Oscars could change
  • Traditionally the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires at least a seven-day run in LA theaters for movies to be eligible for a gong  
  • But picture houses in America’s second city have been closed since mid-March, with no date set for them to reopen 
  • For the first time, and only this year, movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The Film Academy is considering postponing the 2021 Oscars amid the ongoing pandemic, after rules were relaxed to allow streamed films to be considered.

The 93rd Academy Awards were set to take place on February 28 2021. 

But multiple sources have claimed that the ABC telecast of the Oscars will be moved to a different date, yet there is currently no definitive plan in place.

Up in the air:  The Film Academy ‘is considering postponing 2021 Oscars’ amid the ongoing pandemic… (Brad Pitt pictured with his Oscar in February)

‘It’s likely they’ll be postponed. The details have yet to be fully discussed or even formally proposed’, a source told Variety on the condition of anonymity.

Another source said that the ceremony date remains unchanged.

For the first time, and only for this year, movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible for a gong. 

When new rules were announced in April because of COVID-19 severely affecting the movie industry and movie-goers, Academy President David Rubin said it was too soon to know how the 2021 Oscars could change.

Things have to change: For the first time, and only this year, movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible for an award

Hollywood’s biggest night: Steve Martin and Chris Rock are pictured at the last Academy Awards in February 

‘It’s impossible to know what the landscape will be,’ he told Variety. ‘We know we want to celebrate film but we do not know exactly what form it will take.’ 

Last month it was announced that 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.

Making it happen: Last month it was announced that movies that skip the big screen will be allowed to contend for Oscars this year as long as they had a planned theatrical release (Ellen DeGeneres is seen at the 2014 event)

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.

‘It’s impossible to know what the landscape will be,’ Academy president David Rubin told Variety last month. ‘We know we want to celebrate film but we do not know exactly what form it will take.’ Jimmy Kimmel is pictured at the awards in 2018

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.

But films released at theaters in major cities outside Los Angeles will also become eligible.

Under other new rules agreed by governors during an April 28 video call meeting, sound mixing and sound editing Oscars will be merged.

Allowances will be made for scrapped film festivals that serve as qualifying events for movies in certain categories.

With the pandemic threatening to wreak havoc on Hollywood’s award season, industry bodies have been scrambling to adapt to the closure of theaters and postponement of major titles.

In March 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. 

Major US movie theaters say they do not plan on reopening until the summer, with some exceptions in states like Georgia and Texas that have already allowed theaters to reopen. 

The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards are reportedly also changing their rules to consider honouring films that did not premiere in theaters.

According to an email sent to studios on Thursday, films that were originally scheduled to be released in theaters that were forced to debut digitally due to the coronavirus pandemic will now be eligible for nomination.

The 2021 awards season has been thrown into chaos due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Academy Awards reportedly set to be delayed by four months to allow for a wider range of releases.

In the email obtained by Variety, SAG are planning to follow temporary new criteria recently set by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

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. Reese Witherspoon is seen in 2006

This would allow for films that were streamed or released for purchase on a Video On Demand (VOD) service before being played in theaters to be considered for awards.

The email said: ‘We are still revising our film release criteria but will be following the Academy’s rule change to allow titles with a planned theatrical release to be eligible if streamed or released on VOD first.

‘Full language will be announced in June along with the rest of our rules.’ 

It’s also thought that past requirements that studios provide a DVD copy for SAG members to view when considering nominations will also be relaxed, with ‘digital screeners now permitted during the pre-nom voting phase.’ 

The SAGs are one of the more recent ceremonies to appear in Hollywood’s annual awards season, with its first ceremony taking place in 1995.

Nominations for the awards come from two committees, one for film and one for television, each with 2100 members of the union selected at random each year.

The full group of members, which can be in the hundreds of thousands, are then asked to vote for each award.  

Big changes: The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards are reportedly changing their rules to consider honouring films that did not premiere in theaters

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