Academy tweaks rules in response to pandemic
April 29, 2020

Academy tweaks rules in response to pandemic

LOS ANGELES — The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved rules and campaign regulations for the 93rd Academy Awards (, which is scheduled to take place February 28, 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of all Los Angeles County movie theaters as of Monday, March 16th. Current Academy Awards rules require that a film be shown in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for a theatrical qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily. 

Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories under a few provisions. The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release. The film must meet all other eligibility requirements. On a date to be determined by the Academy, and when theaters reopen in accordance with federal, state and local specified guidelines and criteria, this rules exemption will no longer apply. All films released thereafter will be expected to comply with the standard Academy theatrical qualifying requirements.

For films to more easily meet theatrical exhibition requirements when theaters reopen, the Academy also will expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in additional US metropolitan areas: the City of New York; the Bay Area; Chicago; Miami; and Atlanta.

The Board of Governors has also announced rules changes in the Sound, Music and International Feature Film categories.

The two sound categories, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, have been combined into one award for best achievement in Sound that emphasizes the team effort. The number of Oscar statuettes remains the same; up to six statuettes may be awarded.  Eligible recipients may include one production sound mixer, two supervising sound editors and three rerecording mixers.

In the Music (Original Score) category, for a score to be eligible, it must comprise a minimum of 60 percent original music.  Additionally, for sequels and franchise films, a score must have a minimum of 80 percent new music.

In a procedural change in the International Feature Film category, all eligible Academy members will now be invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting. For the first time, film submissions will be made available through the Academy Screening Room streaming platform to those members who opt-in. These members of the International Feature Film Preliminary Voting committee must meet a minimum viewing requirement in order to be eligible to vote in the category.