The board of directors at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which distributes the film industry's coveted Oscar awards, has decided not to extend the minimum period eligible films need to be screened in a theater.
The Academy's board of directors ruled in favor of its existing guidelines, which require a seven-day run in a Los Angeles theatre to qualify for an Oscar nomination.
The issue was put to a vote over concerns that streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime were eating at the viewership numbers of traditional cinemas, with some calling for the minimum run period to be extended.
Even veteran director Steven Spielberg emerged to criticize Netflix's Oscar ambitions, saying that "TV movies" shouldn't be considered in the same category as traditional cinema experiences.
The Netflix-produced Roma managed to scoop three awards for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography at the Oscars last year, despite being released simultaneously through Netflix's own streaming platform and seen in larger numbers in people's homes.
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Business as usual
Nothing seems to have changed for now, but we're only going to see more films from streaming services winning awards down the line, and it makes sense that quality titles are rewarded, even if there's disagreement over who should qualify for what.
The seven-day requirement exists to ensure that any nominated titles have had a theatrical release, but an extension could also limit the exposure received by smaller budget or foreign-language titles, which don't always see a lengthy run in US theaters.
In a statement, Academy president John Bailey stated that “We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions."
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.