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Oscars Make BIG Change, Streaming Films Will Be Eligible

*Looks at watch* Oh hey, look at that. It’s 2020, isn’t it? And given that we’re living in the damn future, it only makes sense that we tear down the pointless gatekeeping. For years, the Oscars has been a pain in the sides of creatives worldwide. Sure, you have those like Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino who would never not qualify to make the Oscars, but then you have others who skipped theaters in favor of Netflix. The streaming giant has had to spend years on the awards sidelines before the Academy started to somewhat meet them halfway, but now it appears the tables have turned.

With the pandemic affecting every aspect of the entertainment industry, you knew they’d have to make some big changes for next year’s ceremony. After all, there’s a potentially large chunk of films that won’t be eligible thanks to the whole theater shutdown deal. Well, luckily, the Academy is changing things for next year’s Oscars, so this may not be a problem.

The change was made during a Zoom session vote on Tuesday. The decision was to pull back on the Oscar-eligibility requirements. This was obviously in response to the pandemic, which resulted in shuttered theaters.

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So, what’s the new rule? Until further notice, films can qualify for competition without screening it for one week in an L.A.-located theater. So long as they meet all the other requirements and are available for Academy members to view via their streaming service, they’re good. Considering how high a bar of entry that theater rule was, I anticipate an uptick in potential contenders. Anyway, this would allow movies like Trolls World Tour the opportunity to compete.

Unfortunately, for the time being, it looks like this will be a one-time adjustment. Assuming that the pandemic subsides and goes away, I’d guess things would go back to normal in 2022. That being said, if this results in more mainstream movies getting picked and higher ratings, I suppose we could see this extended. The main reasoning behind this decision, however, is that they don’t want to punish filmmakers who put hard work into their films.

I’m glad the Oscars made this change, but hope they’ll stick to these rules once the pandemic passes. The idea of requiring a theatrical run is silly and outdated, but I guess that describes a lot of the Hollywood culture.

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