Oscars to Allow Netflix Movies and Other Streaming Content to Qualify Next Year


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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science will allow content on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to qualify for the 2021 Oscars, it announced in a press release.

“The devastating COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of all Los Angeles County movie theaters as of Monday, March 16, 2020,” the Academy explained in the April 28 announcement. Because academy rules require movies to play in Los Angeles County for at least seven days, the new rules will also allow content “made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days” of streaming or video-on-demand release.

The Academy emphasized that it still believes movies should be watched in theaters, not at home.

“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a co-signed statement. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering.  Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.  The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”

The organization added that when theaters reopen, it will expand eligible theaters to include those in New York City, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and the Bay Area.

Several movies due for release in 2020 have been rescheduled for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, including Mission: Impossible 7, Fast & Furious 9, and James Bond sequel No Time to Die. Some studios have opted to move some films straight to Netflix rather than waiting for movie theaters to reopen, including Paramount Pictures’ Lovebirds and Universal Studios’ animated Trolls sequel.

AMC Theaters, the largest theater chain in the United States, said it was banning all movies from Universal Pictures as punishment for the decision. The chain, which is owned predominantly by the Chinese Wanda Group, has seen its stock value drop by 45 percent since the year began.

The 2021 Oscars ceremony is presently scheduled to take place next February, but the Academy’s board has said the date may change if the coronavirus pandemic is still widespread.

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