The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that films shown at drive-in theaters will be eligible for the Oscars in 2021.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the official Board of Governors voted to update the eligibility rules on Tuesday in order to allow drive-in films to qualify for best picture and general entry categories at the 93rd Academy Awards. The new requirements state that films screened at drive-in theaters will need to be shown for seven consecutive days at the same venue, with at least one screening per day.
The rule dictates that “films may qualify with a traditional theatrical release, completing a seven-day run in one of six qualifying cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta), screening at least three times daily, with at least one screening between 6 pm and 10 pm daily. Additionally, drive-in theaters in these cities will now qualify as a commercial venue, however, the screening requirement will be adjusted from three times daily to once daily.”
We reported back in March that there had been a sudden surge of popularity with drive-in movie theaters this year, as several of the 305 outdoor venues in the United States noted an increase in business while the majority of traditional brick-and-mortar movie theaters, including major chains, AMC and Regal, were forced to close their doors in adherence to government advisories on social distancing during the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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In further Oscars changes this year, the Academy decreed back in April that films that were previously planned for theatrical release but instead debut on commercial streaming or VOD services may be able to qualify for Best Picture, general entry and speciality categories at next year’s ceremony, though there are a few eligibility provisions.
Shortly after that, it was announced that the 93rd Academy Awards had been postponed by two months, shifting from February 28, 2021, to April 25, 2021, with the eligibility period extended to February 28, 2021. Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said they wanted to provide flexibility and prevent filmmakers from being “penalized for something beyond anyone’s control.”