The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved new requirements to broaden the public theatrical exhibition criteria for Oscars eligibility in the Best Picture category starting with the 97th Academy Awards, for films released in 2024.
Upon completion of an initial qualifying run, currently defined as a one-week theatrical release in one of the six U.S. qualifying cities, a film must meet the following additional theatrical standards for Best Picture eligibility:
- Expanded theatrical run of seven days, consecutive or non-consecutive, in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets, no later than 45 days after the initial release in 2024.
- For late-in-the-year films with expansions after January 10th, 2025, distributors must submit release plans to the Academy for verification.
- Release plans for late-in-the-year films must include a planned expanded theatrical run, as described above, to be completed no later than January 24th, 2025.
- Non-U.S. territory releases can count towards two of the ten markets.
- Qualifying non-U.S. markets include the top 15 international theatrical markets plus the home territory for the film.
“As we do every year, we have been reviewing and assessing our theatrical eligibility requirements for the Oscars,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang. “In support of our mission to celebrate and honor the arts and sciences of moviemaking, it is our hope that this expanded theatrical footprint will increase the visibility of films worldwide and encourage audiences to experience our art form in a theatrical setting. Based on many conversations with industry partners, we feel that this evolution benefits film artists and movie lovers alike.”
These new rules won’t go into effect until January 1st, 2024, for films competing for a Best Picture nomination in the 2025 ceremony. All other categories remain unaffected by these changes, but this has long been in the works due to the rise of streaming, the pandemic’s impact on the theatrical marketplace, and several other factors which the Academy Board Of Governors meets about each year to discuss along with several other pressing matters.
We’ve seen Apple commit harder to theatrical releases recently by investing $1 billion per year in the endeavor and giving Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Killers Of The Flower Moon” and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” robust theatrical releases later this year. Earlier this year, Amazon released Ben Affleck’s “Air” theatrically on over 3000 screens, and Netflix released Rain Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” theatrically last Thanksgiving in their widest theatrical rollout yet. Surely, the streamers must’ve known a decision like this was brewing, and they were preemptively getting ready. Still, now smaller distributors such as A24, NEON, and Sony Pictures Classics, amongst others, will need to commit to more markets than ever before, which will be interesting, to say the least, in terms of how they go about navigating these new rules with their upcoming titles given they have much fewer resources.
What do you think of these new Academy rules? How do you think this will impact the streamers and how they roll out films they hope will contend for Best Picture? What about the smaller studios? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.