The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revealed its new rules for eligibility for the 93rd Academy Awards to account for cancelled festivals and theatrical runs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With the revisions, qualifying documentary films, both in the feature and short subject categories, that originally had a planned theatrical release but adapted to closed theaters by releasing through commercial streaming, VOD or other broadcast can be considered, if the film was made available on the Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the release.
This is the first time that a documentary feature film will not be required to have a theatrical run to be eligible.
The special rules for the documentary feature and documentary short subject category also include selection by one of the qualifying film festivals, even if they had been canceled or switched to a digital festival. Those impacted festivals include South by Southwest, CPH:DOX, Full Frame, Hot Docs, San Francisco and Tribeca Film Festivals, and the films must be released online through the festival’s online platform.
Previous years saw films considered for eligibility if they’d won certain awards from a qualifying festival.
In addition, commercial venues in U.S. cities like Chicago, the Bay Area, Miami and Atlanta, will count as qualifying theatres once restrictions on large gatherings have been lifted. A week-long run will be considered in these cities, which marks an expansion beyond the New York City and LA County runs.
These new requirements are for the 93rd Awards season only.