Academy Awards Protects Netflix Eligibility Amid Slew Of New Oscar Rule Changes

Despite pressure from some filmmakers and many big studios, the Academy Awards have chosen not to crack down on Netflix — and other streaming platforms — when it comes to Oscars eligibility.

On Tuesday, the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ revealed that their Board of Governors approved some new rule changes for the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards.

While the changes affect a number of different award categories, the announcement directly addressed the “discussions” that went on regarding changing eligibility requirements for awards consideration, and that the board ultimately decided not to modify the rules.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” Academy President John Bailey said in the Academy’s press release. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration.”

“We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues,” Bailey added.

While Netflix was not mentioned by name, the streaming platform made serious waves during this year’s Oscars with Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma”, which took home three Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for seven additional Oscars, including Best Picture.

The current rules for eligibility for awards consideration state: “A film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission. Motion pictures released in nontheatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County theatrical qualifying run remain eligible.”

So, in spite of the best efforts of Stephen Spielberg, Netflix will still have a chance to produce and release some Oscar contenders over the coming year.

Among the new rule changes, the Academy announced that the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category will now feature five nominees instead of three and that the Best Animated Film category no longer requires at least eight animated films to be released in a given year for the category to be presented.

Additionally, the Foreign Language Film category has been renamed the International Feature Film category, in an effort to promote and respective inclusivity.

“We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee, said in the Academy’s release. “We believe that International Feature Film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”

For more on last year’s Oscars ceremony, where Netflix enjoyed a massive night and sent waves through the industry, check out the video below.

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