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Films can qualify for Golden Globes consideration even if they do not first screen in a theater, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced Thursday. Instead, in a potentially game-changing decision that was made in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered all Los Angeles-area theaters, films “may instead be released first on a television format (e.g. subscription streaming service, subscription cable channel, broadcast television, etc.) and will still be eligible.”
Describing this “alternate screening procedure” as “temporary” — starting “March 15 until a date to be determined by HFPA when cinemas in the Los Angeles area have generally reopened” — the HFPA is suspending its requirement that its roughly 90 members be invited to an “official screening” of a film “at a third-party facility in the greater Los Angeles area” either prior to the L.A.-area theatrical release of a film or within a week after it.
Instead, distributors must contact the HFPA to set a date on the HFPA’s calendar, as they would have if they were setting a date for an official screening, but on that date they may instead send HFPA members a DVD screener or screening link so that they can watch the film at home.
This alleviates stress for some filmmakers who feel a sense of urgency about placing their film on pay-per-view, VOD or a streaming service — perhaps because of a contractual obligation tied to a specific date — but did not want to undercut their eligibility for the Golden Globes by doing so.
The HFPA’s statement notes, “The HFPA will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on motion picture and television distribution and exhibition and may extend these suspensions of the Golden Globe award rules and/or may make other temporary variations to those rules as it considers appropriate in the future.”
The leadership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is currently deliberating about how it would like to handle this unprecedented crisis in the run-up to the 93rd Oscars, and is expected to announce its conclusions following its board of governors meeting on April 14.
The date for the 78th Golden Globes has not yet been announced, but Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have agreed to serve as its hosts.
April 28, 10:56 a.m. Updated with extension of the “alternate screening” requirements from April 30 to undetermined.