Next Year's Academy Awards Will Allow Streaming Movies And Combine Two Categories

Next year's Oscars has one big change coming because of the pandemic and another that will make some people mad.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyday life, including Hollywood. While cancellations, postponements, and digital-only releases of upcoming movie releases have become everyday news, the Academy Awards is pivoting to reflect the times.

While the 93rd Academy Awards won't take place until Sunday, February 28, 2021, there will be a few big changes to how the ceremony operates, as the Academy revealed in a tweet.

Because there are many movies that can't debut in theaters, like Trolls: World Tour, the Academy has softened the rules--but only for this year. Streamed films will be eligible for Best Picture this year, and only for the 93rd Academy Awards. "The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater," Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement detailing all the changes. "Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever."

Additionally, sound mixing and sound editing will be combined into one award as "Best Achievement in Sound." Up to six statuettes can be awarded per sound team, which will include one production sound mixer, two supervising sound editors, and three recording mixers.

The sound mixing award debuted in 1929, with MGM's Douglas Shearer winning for The Big House. Sound editing's award was first awarded in 1963 with Walter Elliot winning for his work on It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

There was only one other noteworthy change, revolving around Best Musical Score. In order to be eligible, a film's score must be at least 60% new music. If the film is from a franchise or a sequel, it must be 80% new music.

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