I love the movie academy’s decision to allow streaming movies into the Oscars.
For decades, the academy’s rules have hinged on something that has nothing to do with a movie’s quality, format, or content. To be eligible for Oscars, the Academy rules say, a movie must be publicly exhibited “for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County … for a theatrical qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days in the same commercial motion picture theater.”
This rule strikes me as dumb. A movie’s a movie, whether it runs in theaters, on TV, or anywhere else.
A lot of movies made for TV or the straight-to-video market might have gotten Academy attention if they’d hit American theaters. For some reason, several of them focus on gay characters, like And the Band Played On (with Ian McKellen, Richard Gere, and Lily Tomlin), Behind the Candelabra (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon), The Normal Heart (Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts), and Gia (Angelina Jolie and Faye Dunaway). Toy Story 2 was originally a straight-to-video feature ineligible for Oscars; but when Disney put it into theaters, Academy members nominated it for an Oscar (best original song). Besides, I’ve heard that quite a few movies distributed on video or TV in the United States have had successful theatrical runs in foreign countries.
So yes, let streaming movies contend for Oscars. Let TV series episodes get nominations for Best Short Film. Let MSNBC and HBO documentaries win Academy Awards.
May the best work win, regardless of its distribution method.