The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is easing up on its opposition to streaming movies, however temporarily. Its board of governors has approved a rule change that will make digital-only movies eligible to win Oscars, but just for the current awards year. There’s no mystery as to why. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing theaters in Los Angeles (and much of the world) to close, the Academy can’t insist that movies show on big screens for a week before they qualify.
Don’t expect this to change minds, however. Academy leaders Dawn Hudson and David Rubin maintained that there was “no greater way” to experience movies than at a theater, and that this was meant to support “members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty.” When it’s safe to resume theater screenings, the Academy will allow movies that exhibit in cities beyond LA, including Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.