Netflix still eligible for Oscars as Academy keeps streaming rule unchanged

Among the new rule changes, the Academy has renamed the category Best Foreign Language Film. Carlo Allegri/Getty Image

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made a few rule changes for the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards but despite rumours, Netflix was not affected.

A board of governors meeting on Tuesday voted to maintain the status quo, meaning any feature-length film can be considered for an Academy Award but it “must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theatre, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission.”

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Films can hit alternative release platforms like Netflix on or after the first day of the run and remain eligible.

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“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 a statement.

“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.”

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Steven Spielberg and others had previously expressed their concerns that the films produced and released by streaming firms should not be eligible for the Oscars and should be classified as TV content.

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Following Spielberg’s comments last month, Netflix released a statement via Twitter.

“We love cinema. Here are some things we also love:

-Access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, theaters

-Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time

-Giving filmmakers more ways to share art

These things are not mutually exclusive,” the statement read.

Ahead of the board meeting, the Academy had received a warning from the U.S. Justice Department that any exclusion may fall foul of anti-trust laws.

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Among the new rule changes, the Academy has renamed the category Best Foreign Language Film and it will now be known as Best International Feature Film.

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“We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” said Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee. “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.

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

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