The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has tweaked Golden Globe eligibility rules in light of the coronavirus pandemic and has said members can consider films that have not screened first in a theatre, at least until April 30.
The rule change, while intended to be a temporary measure, nonetheless marks a cultural sea change in the US awards landscape and comes amid unprecedented times as all US theatres have closed down.
HFPA voters have typically watched submissions at a third-party venue in the greater Los Angeles either before the Los Angeles area release or one week after it opens.
Now they can consider a title that debuted on digital or cable platforms as distributors scramble to get their latest releases out to market.
The change affects films that had had a theatrical release scheduled from March 15-April 30. Distributors are now mandated to reach out to HFPA members and enable viewing via a link or DVD that conforms with the Association’s timing requirements.
The HFPA said the rule tweak could be extended. It already broadens existing rules that say the group can consider a film that opened in theatres, or played on pay-per-view cable or pay-per-view digital delivery in the greater Los Angeles area, for at least seven days starting before December 31.
The HFPA said in a statement, “The HFPA will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on motion picture and television distribution and exhibition and may extend these suspensions of the Golden Globe award rules and/or may make other temporary variations to those rules as it considers appropriate in the future.”
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were confirmed earlier this year as hosts of the 2021 Golden Globes.
At time of writing the Academy had not issued any statement on concrete changes to its rules.
Last week it said, ”The Academy is focused on helping our staff, our members, and the industry safely navigate through this global health and economic crisis. We are in the process of evaluating all aspects of this uncertain landscape and what changes may need to be made. We are committed to being nimble and forward-thinking as we discuss what is best for the future of the industry and will make further announcements in the coming days.”