Academy Adds Drive-Ins to Oscar Eligibility Rules

A new update to the eligibility requirements for films competing in the annual Academy Awards has been announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, allowing screening at drive-in venues to count towards the exhibition requirements already in place.

Previously, while a film was required to meet certain screening requirements, though they were restricted to only being exhibited in traditional brick and mortar movie theaters.

This is not the first change in the eligibility requirements that the Academy has enacted. In April, the Academy’s board moved to allow films that premier via video on demand or streaming to be eligible to compete. That change, as well as this one, is being made in response to limited theater capacities and outright theater closures. The Academy has also made some non-Covivd-related changes to the rules this year, combining the two sound categories into one and changing viewing and voting requirements for those voting in the Best International Feature category.

The updated eligibility rule now reads –

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.


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 Academy Awards are scheduled to be held on April 25, 2021.

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About Rich Drees 6964 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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