Coronavirus Forces Yet Another Historic Change: Academy Awards

by Shelli

I’ve always wondered what people mean when they call themselves a “movie buff.” Often people use those words to describe me. For sure I do still go to movie theaters whenever I can. When I travel outside the US, I always venture into movie theaters. Theater going is so culturally different. I find it both fascinating and fun.

New Zealand was the first place I saw people drinking wine in a movie theater. And not from paper cups. Eating ice cream in a Sydney, Australia theater proved to be quite a melting mess. In Lisbon nobody got up after the movie was over. They watched ALL the movie credits for maybe 5 minutes after the movie ended. Movie buffs, perhaps?

By one day I missed the updated version of Mary Poppins opening in Kyoto, Japan. Who wouldn’t want to hear Just a Spoonful of Sugar sung in Japanese?

This post, however, isn’t about me and my movie theater escapades. It’s about the Academy Awards making historic changes due to COVID-19. I learned a few new interesting Academy Award facts besides their upcoming changes.

coronavirus academy awards

Image: Pixabay

Academy Awards Eligibility Rules Change Due To COVID-19

By now we are all aware that movie theaters are closed. So what’s been happening to all the movies that were to open in movie theaters?

Movie premiers have happened in our homes through digital platforms or as video on demand. Ok, so movies now premiere in our homes. Why does this matter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when it comes to the actual awards? Movies are still opening, right?

Turns out that WHERE these movies open is a huge factor in Academy Award eligibility.

In an unprecedented move, the board governing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will allow movies that originally had theatrical release dates but are now being screened online to be eligible to be considered for awards.

“The historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in a statement.

Here’s what I found fascinating. Not being a member of the academy board myself……..I had no idea!

Until now, to qualify for awards, a film had to run at least seven consecutive days in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County, playing at least three times a day.

Under the new rules, when theaters reopen, films may qualify for awards if they have theatrical runs in Los Angeles, New York, California’s Bay Area, Chicago, Miami or Atlanta.

Movie studios generally release their academy award contenders during the later months of the year. So far, just a few major productions have debuted online. This change applies only to movies that had a previously planned theatrical release and only for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 28, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said Tuesday.

Oscars red carpet

Image: Needpix

It really is mind boggling all the many many implications of COVID-19 affecting so many groups and routine yearly occurrences, such as the Oscars. Relaxing the rules for this year’s movies makes sense because of the coronavirus shutdown. Allowing films that premiered on streaming platforms to compete for the industry’s most-coveted prizes is a smart move.

Final Thoughts

I guess I just might qualify as a movie buff, after all. Haven’t had a chance to catch any movie theater online releases, though. If you have, please make some suggestions!

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Steven May 2, 2020 - 2:56 pm

I think the academy is going to have to make these changes permanent. Unless they show live performances, theatrers are rapidly becoming obsolete. Even before Covid 19, I would prefer to watch the movie from the comfort of my own home.

Shelli May 2, 2020 - 3:02 pm

Good insight, Steven. I think, sadly, people feel that way more than ever. Thanks for reading!


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