VOD / Streaming Movies Intended to be in Theaters in 2020 Will Be Eligible for Oscars

2020 Oscars nominees for Actresses in a Supporting Role — won by Laura Dern for Marriage Story

Not quite a Hallelujah moment, but a start.

Somehow I missed this one-time change by the Motion Picture Academy to allow VOD/PVOD/streaming movies that were intended to be shown in theaters and released on streaming to be eligible for Oscars in 2020.

This isn’t a large number of increased movies, if you look at the numbers, so don’t count on Amazon Originals or Netflix Originals being included, unless they truly were slated to be theater releases. Very few of them are.

Extraction ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (see: 30+ Extraction Reviews – Solid Action, Thin Character Depth and Story), for example, which could become the most watched new movie on Netflix ever with 90+ million views, would not be eligible. See, how jacked up these rules are?

For calendar year 2020, movies shown exclusively on streaming services or video-on-demand will be eligible for Oscar consideration. It only applies to movies that were always set for a theatrical release.  Academy regulations have long stipulated that movies need to run for at least one week in a commercial theater in Los Angeles before Dec. 31 to be up for awards consideration.  Even with the new temporary rule, each film will still need to be made available to potential voters on the member-only Academy Screening Room streaming site within 60 days of its streaming or VOD release. 

Will pandemic change movie watching forever?

What movies would be Oscars eligible under this new rule (this isn’t a complete list)?

  1. Trolls World Tour
  2. Scoob!
  3. The Lovebirds
  4. My Spy
  5. Artemis Fowl
  6. King Of Staten Island
  7. The High Note

Not sure any of these movies will have much in the way of Oscars chances, but hey, at least they can be considered. Personally, pandemic or not, this is 2020 and all new movies released to streaming/VOD or the movie theaters or wherever they can be screened should be eligible.

Seriously, a movie is a movie. If you create it with a cast, characters, story and shoot it on film or digitally, edit it, and then release it to an audience, why can’t that film have the same opportunity to win an Oscar as something done mostly by giant studios?

One reason is sheer numbers. There would be too many movies for the Oscar voting group to consider. I guess that’s where the numbers get whittled down and voted upon and then a pool of main candidates is put before the voting audience. Perhaps the vetting of “all new movies” is done by moviegoers. From that list becomes the smaller, more manageable list that the Academy reviews for final balloting and voting.

There are no perfect systems, but the old way of approving movies that only show in theaters is becoming increasingly pointless. The pandemic makes this new temporary change for 2020 (presumably reverting back to the old rule in 2021 if theaters are reopened) shouldn’t be the only reason the rules need revision.

We all know the next few months have very few theatrical releases scheduled (see: Delayed Screenings – Only 9 of 39 (23%) Wide Release Movies Coming to Movie Theaters (if they reopen) Through August 1, 2020 — this number has reduced even further since it was published)

June 2020 now has no new movies scheduled for theatrical release

With King of Staten Island now going to VOD and Fatale being pushed back to October 30, 2020 there are now zero new wide release movies scheduled for theaters in June 2020. There is only one for May 2020 as of this writing (Irresistible on May 29). The High Note previously scheduled for May 8 is now going to VOD/streaming on May 29 (source).

Will Irresistible hold out for its release, be pushed back or go to VOD/streaming also? Smart money says yes. If that happens, this means that no new movies will be opening in theaters in April, May or June 2020, when normally there would be 2-3 new wide release movies every week at this time.

What new movies on VOD/streaming do you think should be eligible for Oscar consideration?

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