Academy Awards Requires Expanded Theatrical Run For Best Picture Contenders – Oscars Watch

Preparations continue for the 95th Oscars on Friday, March 10, 2023 (Robert Gladden / ©A.M.P.A.S.).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have set new theatrical release standards for Best Picture contenders at the Oscars.

These new standards will not take effect until 97th Oscars. In short, all films being released in 2024 and looking to compete for Best Picture will have to have a dedicated theatrical release. Movies being released in previous years would only need a minimum of seven days in at least one designated theatrical market per Academy rules. The new rules would mean that a film like Glass Onion would need to have a longer theatrical run to contend for Best Picture. Personally speaking, the new move is great. If anything, the new rules will hurt the smaller indie films that cannot afford longer theatrical runs. But for a film to get a Best Picture nomination, the studio or streamer must commit to a decent theatrical release. Netflix is likely the one streamer that must change up their theatrical releases going forward should they want a Best Picture nomination.

Under the new rules, a film like Cyrano would be impacted. It was pushed in no shortage of categories but after it turned up hardly any love by the Academy, the studio postponed the release until later. That’s just one example. The biggest thing here is that all expanded theatrical runs have to be completed by January 24, 2025. This is a major game changer for Best Picture contention. As the Academy notes, other categories will not be impacted, just Best Picture. Regardless, it’s a huge win for movie theaters especially as the Academy is now requiring another week of theatrical release in ten of the top 50 U.S. markets.

The Academy’s press release is as follows:

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 10, 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 24, 2025.
  • Non-U.S. territory releases can count towards two of the 10 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 artform in a theatrical setting. Based on many conversations with industry partners, we feel that this evolution benefits film artists and movie lovers alike.”

Eligibility for achievements in the various discipline categories will not be impacted by this requirement.

The 97th Academy Awards will take place on a TBD date in 2025.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.