With the future of the theater industry still up in the air due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has decided it needs to cut international filmmakers a little slack too, if we have any chance at another Parasite next year. According to Variety, HFPA announced Friday that foreign-language films will not need a theatrical run in their own country to be eligible for the 2021 Golden Globes. In past, non-pandemic years, movies required a theatrical release in their nation of origin sometime between October 1 and December 31 prior to the awards.
Per the organization’s new rule, “Foreign-language motion pictures that had a bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in their country of origin during the period from March 15 until a date to be determined by HFPA when cinemas in that country have generally reopened, may instead be released in any country in any format (e.g., a motion-picture format such as in theaters or on pay-per-view or a television format such as subscription streaming service, subscription cable channel, broadcast television, etc.) and will still be eligible for the Golden Globe foreign-language motion-picture awards.”
Additionally, foreign-language films do not require official screenings for HFPA members. Instead, a digital screener or DVD copy will do. The changes are in keeping with the HFPA’s previous (ostensibly also temporary) changes to their rules, which suspended the need for films to complete a Los Angeles theatrical run before December 31. Instead, as long as movies have a planned theatrical run during that time period, they will qualify. As for when any of us will actually get to see all of these amazing qualifying movies, only time (and our presumably exhausted lawmakers) will tell.