Everyone wondered what it would take to force the Motion Picture Academy into the future, if not the present. Turns out it was the pandemic.
New Academy rules today will allow films that are streamed to be eligible for Oscars. They will not have to play in a theater in Los Angeles, New York, or Toronto. This decision is in response to the theaters not being open, but the Oscars still rolling toward us on February 28, 2021.
So Pete Davidson can breathe a sigh of relief. His “King of Staten Island” is going to VOD in June rather than play in theaters. Now it’s eligible for the Academy Awards.
Bigger news: this is the last year of DVD screeners. After that, it’s all links. The ornate packages, all of that stuff, is coming to an end. And it’s not just the movies. All CDs with scores and songs will be eliminated. Fancy bound books of screenplays, too.
In the case of the bound books, ebay is littered with them from past years. Some have beautiful leather covers.
The Academy also deleted a category, and combined Sound Editing and Sound Mixing into one. No one ever understood the distinction. Now it’s just Best Sound.
So what a Casting category? That would make such so sense.
There were two other new rules:
• In the Music (Original Score) category, for a score to be eligible, it must comprise a minimum of 60% original music. Additionally, for sequels and franchise films, a score must have a minimum of 80% 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.
Plus these. One of them, a requirement for closed captioning on screeners, I applaud. Not for me, my hearing is fine, but there lots of complaints.
The following campaign regulations were also approved:
• The regulation prohibiting quotes or comments by Academy members not directly associated with the film in any form of advertising in any medium, including online and social media, was eliminated. Academy governors and Awards and Events Committee members, however, are still prohibited from participating in such activity.
• All screeners will be required to include closed captioning.
• After nominations, film companies will be allowed to send mailings announcing the availability of song and bake-off materials on the Academy’s streaming platform.
• As part of the Academy’s sustainability effort, the 93rd Awards season will be the final year DVD screeners will be allowed to be distributed; these mailings will be discontinued starting in 2021 for the 94th Academy Awards. Access to the Academy Screening Room will continue to be made available for all eligible releases. The distribution of physical music CDs, screenplays and hardcopy mailings, including but not limited to paper invites and screening schedules, will also be discontinued next year. Digital links to materials will be permitted.