The Oscars to accommodate VOD releases next year


The recent awards season might be over, but that doesn’t mean that the folks that run the Oscars aren’t already looking ahead to the next one. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced several changes that would impact the 93rd Academy Awards, slated to take place on the 28th of February, 2021.

The biggest change announced was that the eligibility rules would now allow for the consideration of movies that are released directly on video-on-demand (VOD) and streaming platforms. Prior to now, a film was required to have been screened at movie theaters for at least 7 consecutive days.

A still from Trolls World Tour

This change is being necessitated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has already forced theaters to shutdown and disrupted the release schedules of several high-profile movies. The Academy was careful to point out that the change was only temporary though, and that a film still needs to have been intended for a theatrical release at the very least to be considered.

For a movie to be considered, it would also need to be made available on The Academy’s own online screening platform that was introduced last year, within 60 days of its availability on VOD and streaming on other platforms. This system would be replacing the current system of studios directly mailing out DVD screeners to members of the Academy for consideration.

Another major change that was announced was the merging of the Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing categories into one single category, Best Sound. This came at the recommendation of the Sound Branch of the Academy, since there was already so much overlap between both categories, with hardly any divergence between winners in both most years.

A scene from the WWI thriller, 1917

What do you think about the new eligibility rules introduced by the Academy? Do you think it would make good on its promise to revert back to the 7-day theatrical release requirement once theaters reopen, or that this is the new normal? Let us know in the comments section below.