The Academy react to effects of the coronavirus with update to Oscar rules
With major studios shifting their titles out of 2020 into next year and increasing uncertainty about the cinema release schedule for the next 6 months at least, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a significant change to their eligibility rules for the 93rd Oscars.
Next years' ceremony is scheduled to take place on February 28, and the 54-person board of governors voted to change the ways films can qualify for selection. Until further notice, films will be eligible for the competition without having screened for at least one week in a Los Angeles-area cinema, which has been the minimum standard for a number of years.
As long as the films submitted for inclusion had already planned a theatrical release, and are able to meet the other eligibility requirements, they will be in the running. This includes the film being made available for Academy members to view on the organisation's members-only streaming service, Academy Screening Room, within 60 days of being made available on a publicly available streamer or VOD service.
Changes have also been made to some of the categories for next year's show. The Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing categories have now been consolidated into a single section, now called Best Sound. This will reduce the number of Oscars televised down from 24 to 23.
A small alteration has also been made to the Best Original Score category. Now at least 60% of the music must be original, whereas previously it had to be "predominantly" original.
Finally, all Academy members can now vote on who is included in the Best International Feature shortlist. Previously, only those able and willing to attend screenings at the organisation's headquarters in Beverly Hills had the opportunity to give their vote.