The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced June 13 that a film cannot appear on the internet before its theatrical release and be eligible for an Oscar(R).
As with a television broadcast, an internet transmission disqualifies a film if the transmission occurs before the film's Los Angeles County qualifying run, board officials said. A rule which is specified in the general rule for eligibility for the 73rd Annual Academy Awards(R), as well as in the special rules for the documentary awards.
Board officials said, the rulings emphasized the organization's long-standing principle that its province is theatrical motion pictures as distinct from pictures experienced as lone viewing.
Rule Two, the eligibility rule, reads that "films which 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."
The rule then contains a parenthetical sentence that will now read: "(This includes broadcast and cable television, as well as home video marketing and internet transmission.)"
"The Board just wants to make it crystal clear," said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis, "so that in the rush to embrace new technologies, a legitimate theatrical motion picture doesn't inadvertently jeopardize its eligibility."