With movie theaters shuttered and film festivals canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, films once slated for the big screen are now premiering in people's homes, streaming on digital platforms or showing as video on demand. 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.
Until now, to qualify for awards, a film had to run at least seven consecutive days in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County. Under the new rules, when theaters reopen, films may qualify for awards if they have theatrical runs in L.A., New York, California's Bay Area, Chicago, Miami or Atlanta.
Rubin and Hudson told Variety that they'll be, "on the frontlines" encouraging moviegoers back to movie theaters when they can.
In their statement they wrote that they supported filmmakers and the theatrical experience: "We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever."