Oscars organisers have decided that streamed films will be eligible for next year's Academy Awards, which are still pencilled in to take place on February 28, 2021.
The Hollywood Reporter says the long-standing requirement that films must screen for at least one week in a Los Angeles-area cinema has been lifted in light of the Covid-19 emergency.
Now, films that were scheduled to be released in cinemas, and which satisfy other eligibility requirements, will be streamed for the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of the voting process.
A statement from Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said: "The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic Covid-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules."
Prior eligibility rules will be reinstated in consultation with health experts when it is decided that it is safe for people to return to cinemas.
Other changes for 2021 include the merging of the Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing awards into one Oscar for Best Sound, and a change to the Best Original Score category, which now states that at least 60% of a film's music must be original - a change from the "predominantly" standard of the past.