Most major film awards require any movie that wants to be eligible for consideration to play for at least one week in a theater in either New York or Los Angeles. Well, now movie theaters in both those cities and around the world are closed because of coronavirus. The situation may not improve for months. How will you have awards without movies to contend for them?

You’re going to have to change the rules — which is what the Golden Globes have already done in reaction to the continuing coronavirus crisis. Variety reports that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that hands out the Globes, has “temporarily suspended” its rule that movies must play in a theater in Los Angeles for members of their group. Instead, new guidelines state...

...that distributors must contact the HFPA to arrange a screening date on the official HFPA calendar that meets the timing requirements of the Golden Globes eligibility rules. Distributors must provide all HFPA members with a screening link or a DVD copy of the film on the date the the screening is scheduled so that members may view it at home. It will be in effect from March 15 through April 30, 2020.

Right now, awards shows set to take place in 2021 are extremely low priorities. Like, the lowest of the low. But the longer this pandemic goes, and the more it impacts movie theater operations and movie releases, the more it will become an issue. How do you have the Academy Awards if no movies have played in theaters for half a year? Where will these movies even find an audience if there are no film festivals to premiere them? There are a lot of interlocking elements of this, and they’re only going to get more complicated as this situation develops.

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