Coronavirus and the Academy Awards: New Oscars rule marks historical change in the world of film
At this stage, we're all acutely aware that there is precious little a global pandemic doesn't affect.
From economics to entertainment, the world is slowly but surely coming to terms with a 'new normal', while consistently bracing itself for the next onslaught of news.
Thankfully, the latest change will have no direct impact on our daily lives, but does signal a historical change in the world of film and entertainment.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has announced that it has amended its Oscar eligibility rules.
Previously, in order to qualify for Oscar nomination, a film needs to ensure a seven-day theatrical run in a commercial theatre in Los Angeles County.
As of yesterday, this is no longer the case.
While theatres remain closed during lockdown, the board of governors has given permission for films to be released digitally, however the film in question must have been planned for a theatrical release prior to lockdown.
In addition to this, the film must be made available on the members-only streaming site, Academy Streaming Room, within 60 days of streaming or VOD release.
Commenting on the change in Oscar eligibility, Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson acknowledged the impact the pandemic has had, and provided an insight into the motivation behind the decision.
"The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theatre. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering," they began.
"Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognise the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever."
It has been established that the seven-day theatre run rule will be reintroduced once theatres re-open. However, qualifying theatres will be extended beyond Los Angeles County and include New York City, the Bay Area, Altanta, Chicago and Miami.
But that's not the only change to be introduced by the Academy.
According to Variety, the sound mixing and sound editing categories will be combined into one, and Academy members will participate in the preliminary round of voting for international feature film.
The 93rd Oscars will take place in February 2021.