Drive-In Releases Will Count Toward 2021 Oscars Eligibility, Academy Announces

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With coronavirus regulations restricting movie releases around world, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced an important change for the upcoming awards season: drive-in screenings will count toward a film's eligibility at the 93rd Academy Awards.

The Academy's Board of Governors initially made rule changes this past spring in response to theater closures, allowing Oscars-hopeful films unable to screen in theaters to qualify via the Academy Screening Room website. With the gradual reopening of theaters around the world, an addendum was added to clarify the two methods for qualification in the Best Picture and general entry categories moving forward through the end of this awards year -- which will conclude on Feb. 28, 2021.

ET can confirm that on Oct. 6, the Board passed an additional addendum to Awards Rule 2 regarding eligibility, stating that drive-in theaters will qualify as a commercial venue for awards-eligible screenings.

Read the complete rules below:

1.  Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify by making the film available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast.

2. 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.  Films that have a theatrical release are not required to submit to the Academy Screening Room within 60 days -- it is optional.

While many of this year's major releases have been pushed back due to the coronavirus restrictions and public health concerns, some films have gone straight to streaming, and others -- like Resistance, The Rental, Unpregnant and more --  held premiere events and opening weekend screenings at drive-in locations.

The 2021 Oscars have already been postponed by two months -- with the ceremony set for April 25 -- and the eligibility window has been extended as well, to Feb. 28. A host and details for the ceremony have yet to be announced.

Check out how the 2020 Emmy Awards ran their remote ceremony in the video below!

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