After two COVID years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday the 2023 Oscars will be returning to the pre-pandemic standard of requiring films to be released theatrically in order to compete. It’s the end of a short truce between the Academy and streaming-only films: In recognition of the way COVID-19 changed moviegoing, Oscars hopefuls for the past two seasons had been able to qualify by submitting themselves to the Academy’s in-house streaming platform. However, for all that this move can be interpreted as the Academy making a stand for the theatrical experience, in practice the change is merely cosmetic. Streamers such as Netflix have long given their awards movies qualifying releases, and even Apple TV+’s CODA, which became the first streaming film to win Best Picture, received a small theatrical release in August. Still, one pandemic-era rule change is staying with us: Films no longer have to release in New York or Los Angeles to qualify but can play in Atlanta, the Bay Area, Chicago, or Miami as well. Academy snowbirds, the real winner is you!
The 95th Oscars will be held on March 12, 2023.