These days Netflix is making movies for itself, such as Bright starring Will Smith. There are many more movies made for Netflix.
Are these movies eligible for Academy Awards, as they are made for a web based platform?
Movies made for anyone, including Netflix, are eligible for Academy Awards, but only if they complete a 7-day release in Los Angeles County.
- for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County,
- for a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily, with at least one screening beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily,
- advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles County qualifying run in a manner normal and customary to theatrical feature distribution practices, and
- released within the Awards year deadlines specified in Rule Three.
Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category. Nontheatrical public exhibition or distribution includes but is not limited to:
- Broadcast and cable television
- DVD distribution
- Internet transmission
Motion pictures released in such nontheatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County qualifying run remain eligible. Also, ten minutes or ten percent of the running time of a film, whichever is shorter, may be shown in a nontheatrical medium prior to the film’s qualifying run.
Yes, but only in 2020 for the 93rd Oscars, according to the Academy: "For This Awards Year Only, Streamed Films To Be Eligible for Oscars®"
If/when Netflix makes good enough movies the Academy will change the rules.
Netflix looked into releasing some movies in theaters in France to qualify for Cannes (or another of the awards there) but French movie releases were not allowed to be shown on TV/Streamed for 2 years (or another prohibitive time period.) Netflix looked into releasing their movies just so they can qualify for the awards. So they will probably do the same in the US if their movies are good enough. But if releasing them are too restrictive on their streaming business, they wont. And then it will be over to the Academy to change their rules.
There is a risk that some other award ceremony recognises Netflix and Amazon etc that one day may have all the best films, marginalising the Academy Awards. So they would change their rules if it came to that...
In 2015, four major US cinema chains refused to screen the Idris Elba war drama Beasts of No Nation due to Netflix’s decision to release the film online at the same time as in cinemas, which violated the US’s own rule that says there has to be a 90-day delay between theatrical and home entertainment releases. So it is unlikely Netflix will pander to the academy's rules.
UPDATE 2020 - they are allowed this year. And the New York Post thinks they should be every year as that is how people like to watch high quality films - linking inclusion in Oscars to quality of film - if Oscars are to be relevant.
So, pouting, the academy relented and let streaming into the party. Desperate times, desperate measures, right? But allowing the most easily accessible films to participate in award season should not be a compromise, but a long overdue, totally rational shift in policy. The new streaming eligibility rule must not fade away with a vaccine, but be woven into the fabric of future Oscars ceremonies. That is, if the academy craves a sliver of relevance anymore. Oscars 2021 will allow streamed films due to the coronavirus The truth is that today, streaming and on-demand watching are audiences’ preferred ways for experiencing high-quality films. Plain and simple.