The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it is re-introducing its procedure of reviewing films as per groups in the international feature film category in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to provide a fair chance to view all films, as per The Hollywood Reporter.
As per the new norm, the voting committee will be divided into three groups, referred to as the ‘required viewing groups’, each of which will be allotted with one-third of the total pool of submissions to watch. Every member will be required to watch at least 50% of the total films allotted to that group to be eligible to vote.
According to the The Hollywood Reporter report, while members are free to watch films outside their allotted groups, these viewings will not be counted as the minimum requirement of viewings.
In the earlier format of ‘colour groups’, each group was referred by a different colour and the members’ extra views of films, that fell outside their allotted assignments, were counted along as the minimum required number of screenings. This system was abandoned for the last two years to increase participation of members, who hailed from around the world, as the submissions would require in-person screenings.
However, with the ongoing pandemic, all screenings will take place via the Academy’s members-only streaming portal, Academy Screening Room.
Despite the pandemic and with the Acaddemy’s efforts at greater inclusion, by extending the deadline from September to December 1, over 90 films have been submitted in the international feature film category.
Unlike announcing the final list of submissions, the Academy will be putting out the final list of contenders in January, as it will first confirm the eligibility of all the submitted films. This comes as a step in a scenario where a film can qualify only if it releases by December 31 (a) outside of the country of origin for seven consecutive days or (b) if a planned theatrical release in their own country was prevented by government-mandated theater closings, via a reputable streaming service.
However, some members have told The Hollywood Reporter “that more titles haven’t been made available to them sooner”.
The shortlist preliminary voting will begin on February 1, 2021 and end on February 5, 2021.