Golden Globes Alter Eligibility Rules For Theatrical Releases In Light Of Coronavirus Crisis – Foreign Language Film Update
UPDATED, May 8, 9AM: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association continues to tweak its rules for the Golden Globes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this time in regard to the foreign language film category.
For the time being, HFPA is temporarily hitting the pause button on that rule that foreign films must be released in their country of origin during the 15-month period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 prior to the awards. Instead, foreign language films “that had a bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in their country of origin during the period from March 15 until a date to be determined by HFPA when cinemas in that country have generally reopened, may instead be released in any country in any format (e.g. a motion picture format such as in theatres or on pay-per-view or a television format such as subscription streaming service, subscription cable channel, broadcast television, etc.) and will still be eligible for the Golden Globe foreign-language motion picture awards.”
In addition this morning, HFPA now temporarily says that foreign language films no longer need to be screened for HFPA members in a theatre or screening room, rather “In lieu of such in-person screenings: 1) distributors of foreign-language motion pictures must contact the HFPA to arrange a screening date on the official HFPA calendar; and 2) by that date, distributors must provide all HFPA members with a screening link or a DVD copy of the motion picture so that members may view it at home. This alternate screening procedure is in effect from March 15 until a date to be determined by HFPA when cinemas in the Los Angeles area have generally reopened.”
UPDATE, April 28 9:11 AM: The HFPA has slightly updated its eligibility rules for the upcoming Golden Globes given the current COVID-19 climate. The updated rules below largely stay in effect, with the alternate screening procedure in effect “from March 15 until a date to be determined by HFPA when cinemas in the Los Angeles area have generally reopened.” This is under the official Motion Pictures Screening clause.
HFPA, also made the date adjustment under the Motion Picture Release Format clause as follows:
“In light of the closure of all theatres in the Los Angeles area, this requirement is temporarily suspended as follows: Motion pictures that had a bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles during the period from March 15 until a date to be determined by HFPA when cinemas in the Los Angeles area have generally reopened, may instead be released first on a television format (e.g. subscription streaming service, subscription cable channel, broadcast television, etc.) and will still be eligible for the Golden Globe motion picture awards. (Motion pictures also may continue to be released on pay-per-view cable or digital delivery.) The HFPA’s reminders list committee will consider application of this suspension of the rules on a case-by-case basis when compiling the annual Golden Globe reminders list in the fall.”
PREVIOUSLY, MARCH 26: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Thursday said it will be altering long-standing rules for Golden Globe motion picture eligibility and screenings for the coming year, change that could include the unheard of step of first being seen even on broadcast TV. However, producers and studios must prove they had a “bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles during the period from March 15 to April 30 2020.”
The HFPA, unlike other press associations, in most cases get their own private screenings for eligible films. In a break from the status quo, the organization said today it is temporarily suspending the rule that stated all members qualified to vote must be invited to an official screening at a third-party facility in the greater Los Angeles area up until no more than one week after the L.A. release of the film. In lieu of such in-person screenings, the group has revised its requirement to the following:
1) 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 (i.e. not later than one week after the release of English-language motion pictures in Los Angeles); and 2) by that date, distributors must provide all HFPA members with a screening link or a DVD copy of the motion picture so that members may view it at home. This alternate screening procedure is in effect from March 15 until April 30, 2020, with this period subject to later review and extension.
In addition to the screening changes, exhibition requirements the organization has in place are also temporarily suspended (other than the rule that films must be released for a minimum of seven days prior to midnight, December 31 of the qualifying year) and have been broadened from pay-per-view services and theaters to also include alternate television formats where a film can also be first released — including subscription streaming services, subscription cable channels, broadcast television, etc.
“The HFPA’s reminders list committee will consider application of this suspension of the rules on a case-by-case basis when compiling the annual Golden Globe reminders list in the fall,” the org says. “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 announced on January 11 to return as hosts of the 2021 Golden Globe Awards on NBC, though no date has been officially announced. Most observers suspect, if the past is any indication, it will likely fall on Sunday, January 10, 2021.
Other movie awards-giving groups will likely be making their own exceptions to their rules. The biggie, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is expected to follow with similar tweaks to Oscar eligibility rules, at least temporarily, after announcing last week it was gearing up for changes. “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, ” AMPAS said in a statement. The 93rd Annual Academy Awards are 11 months away, scheduled for February 28, 2021.
None of this upheaval to the way things usually are conducted in the movie-kudos season comes as a surprise as the coronavirus crisis is wreaking havoc throughout the awards sector, both short term for the Tony Awards, which on Wednesday postponed its scheduled June 7 broadcast to an unspecified later date, as well as for the Emmys, not scheduled until September but finding their FYC campaign season upended by the social distancing and self-quarantine orders now taking place around the country and the world.
Regarding the latter, a Television Academy spokesperson told me discussions have taken place with campaign consultants and studios this week, but no details are yet available on any changes, if any, that are to come. Stay tuned for that, as they say.
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