Oscars: Drive-In Screenings Will Now Count Towards Eligibility (Exclusive)

Oscar Statue at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - Getty-H 2019
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It would have been hard to imagine a year ago, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted on Tuesday that drive-in screenings will now count towards qualifying a film for the 93rd Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. For drive-in screenings, there will only be one screening per day required, as opposed to three for all others.

The move was part of a series of tweaks to Awards Rule Two regarding eligibility, following a first wave of COVID-related changes that were announced back in the spring in response to theater closures, the most notable of which was allowing films that were no longer able to proceed with a planned theatrical release to still qualify if they screened on a streaming or VOD platform first, provided they then screened on the Academy Screening Room members-only streaming service within 60 days thereafter.

With the gradual re-opening of theaters, the Academy has added this two-part addendum:

1. Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify by making the film available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast.

2. Films may qualify with a traditional theatrical release, completing a seven-day run in one of six qualifying cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta), screening at least three times daily, with at least one screening between 6 pm and 10 pm daily. Additionally, drive-in theaters in these cities will now qualify as a commercial venue, however, the screening requirement will be adjusted from three times daily to once daily. Films that have a theatrical release are not required to submit to the Academy Screening Room within 60 days — it is optional.

The 93rd Oscars will take place on April 25, 2021.