As the Golden Globes Make Rule Changes, Will Oscars Follow?

The 90-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association is changing its Golden Globe Awards eligibility requirements in response to the widespread halt of business as usual due to the global pandemic. The temporary measures will adjust the requirements for Golden Globe Awards eligibility, and are subject to review and extension at any time.

From March 15 until April 30, 2020, movies no longer have to be screened for Globe members ahead of or within one week of theatrical release. If a distributor had booked a movie into theaters, but moved it to cable, television, or streaming after theaters closed, the film will be deemed eligible for the Golden Globes, as long as the members receive a screening link or DVD to view at home ahead of another scheduled screening. The HFPA’s reminders list committee will review every submission.

According to the HFPA, the 90-member group of international critics “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.”

Meanwhile, distributors and filmmakers have been asking the Academy to meet and decide on rule changes for the Oscars as well. (The next Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for April 14.) Some are asking for similar flexibility for VOD releases under these changing conditions for films such as “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which failed to qualify for a one-week run before theaters closed. Focus Features is considering taking the film to VOD.

Others, like Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard, given the expected logjam of titles at year’s end, are asking the Academy to push the Oscar timeline back from the scheduled ABC telecast on February 28 to late March to give films more time to play in theaters. “They need to figure out how to extend the season dictated by the Oscars,” he said.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Courtesy of Focus Features

Bernard has committed to not sending SPC titles to VOD before their time. For example, he will wait to bring back to reopened theaters the Claes Bang mystery thriller “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” which had a recent curtailed run, rather than send it to VOD. Other companies should wait release their films as well, he said.

“You can’t have a movie that has not been theatrical be eligible for Oscars,” he said. “Once theaters open, we should go back to the rules.”

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