Golden Globes Alter Film Eligibility Rules in Wake of Theater Closures

     March 26, 2020


With theaters across America closed for the foreseeable future and the industry’s release calendar in disarray, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has decided to alter its film eligibility rules for the 2021 Golden Globes.

To be eligible for a Golden Globe, films had to screen for HFPA members at a third party facility in the greater Los Angeles area, but that rule has been suspended, with new guidelines dictating that distributors must provide voters with a screening link or a DVD copy of the film so they can view it at home. The new rule will be in effect from March 15 through April 30, though the HFPA will surely extend the date if theaters remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The HFPA will also consider films that had a theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles between March 15 and April 3. I don’t really see the point of making April 3 the cut-off date, seeing as theaters aren’t going to reopen by then, so expect further changes to come regarding eligibility. Frankly, it feels silly to even be talking about the awards calendar at a time like this, but the Globes are gonna Globe, ya know? Because late March is a prime corridor for awards titles… sigh.


Image via NBC

“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,” the organization said in a statement.

Let’s be serious here. No one cares about the Golden Globes, they care about what the HFPA’s decision could mean for this year’s Oscars ceremony, which has yet to be addressed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. All the organization has said is that it is “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.”

Right now, the Academy has a rule in place mandating that films must have a seven-day theatrical release at a commercial theater in Los Angeles County in order to be eligible for Oscar consideration. Films that premiere in theaters and on digital platforms are eligible, but not if its a digital-only premiere. Which means that Trolls World Tour won’t be eligible for Best Animated Feature, since Universal opted to skip theaters altogether, angering theater owners in the process. However, under the HFPA’s new rules, it remains eligible for Golden Globes consideration.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are set to return as the hosts of next year’s Golden Globes. Click here to watch their promo videos for the 2014 ceremony, back when life was a lot simpler.

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