An Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided in a board of governors meeting on Tuesday that the organization would not be presently changing eligibility rules for streaming services — ending a months’ long battle between the Hollywood filmmaking establishment and streaming giants. Steven Spielberg had been leading the charge on the part of filmmakers after Netflix brought home three trophies this year for Roma, which had only a groundbreaking three-week theatrical release before it was launched to the streaming service.
“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” a spokesperson for Amblin Entertainment said at the time. “He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.”
Well, that’s what happened! The board ultimately voted to maintain the status quo in that any feature-length film can be considered as long as it has a minimum seven-day theatrical run, with three public screenings per day in Los Angeles. Films can then be launched on streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime on or after the first day of a run. Via Variety:
“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.”
Bailey added that the board would “further study the profound changes occurring in our industry.” Not unlike the change that inspired rampant rumors that tonight’s board meeting would be a screaming match between the filmmaking establishment and the deep-pocketed streamers.
On the subject of Roma however, one change the board of governors did make was to rename the best foreign language film category (which went to the Alfonso Cuarón-directed film in 2019) to the “best international feature film,” as the former category name seemed “outdated” with the within the global filmmaking community.
“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,” said Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee.