Oscar Rules Updated With Bad News for Streaming Fans

Streaming platforms will be at a disadvantage for Oscar consideration come next year. Variety reports that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its changes in Oscar rules and campaigning requirements. The major change: digital screeners will still be available, but per the Academy, they now "encourage the screening of eligible films in a theatrical setting for its members."  "Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category."

Additionally, theatrical releases are now an absolute necessity for consideration for awards. The Academy notes: "Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category." eligibility requirements is also returning to the full calendar year. An adjustment was made at the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic amid worldwide theater shutdowns. 

Other major changes were also announced. Now, no more than three songs from one film may be submitted for consideration in the Music (Original Song) category. 

As far as the Documentary categories, the category names have been changed to Documentary Feature Film and Documentary Short Film. They were previously called Documentary (Feature) and Documentary (Short Subject).

The Sound category also has changes. Producers will now be required to make their films available for viewing by sound branch members. The Academy notes: "Additionally, clips for the nominating screening (bake-off) shall not exceed 10 minutes of running time per title."

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The 95th Oscars is currently scheduled for March 12, 2023. The newly listed changes come after an unprecedented live award ceremony in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage with an open hand after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The King Richard star took home his first Oscar that evening for Best Actor for his role as Venus and Serena Williams' father in the biopic. However, he now is no longer a member of the Academy and has been banned from attending the ceremony for 10 years. He still however can be considered for awards.