Hollywood Foreign Press Association implements new measures as coronavirus closes theaters.

By Joey Nolfi
March 26, 2020 at 12:51 PM EDT

Shockwaves from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have made their first major impact on the awards season ahead.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the journalist collective that each year hands out its Golden Globe awards — announced Thursday it has amended its eligibility standards for movies as the viral outbreak has forced movie theaters around the world to close as a means to contain the spread if COVID-19.

New rules stipulate the following with regards to motion picture screenings: "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 "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."

The HFPA further changed its requirements for movie release formats, indicating that "motion pictures that had a bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles during the period from March 15 to April 30, 2020 (this period is subject to later review and extension) 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."

Previously, the HFPA mandated that contending films needed to be made available for exhibition in Los Angeles-area movie theaters or on a pay-per-view cable or digital service outside of a subscription-based medium, and that an official screening for its voting members had to be arranged at a third-party facility in the region.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were previously announced as hosts for the planned Golden Globes ceremony in 2021, though a ceremony date has yet to be confirmed.

Thus far, theatrical closures tied to the coronavirus outbreak have prompted studios to drop new releases like The Invisible Man, Onward, The Hunt, Emma, and more on digital services shortly after they debut on movie screens.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences provided EW with a statement indicating it is "focused on helping our staff, our members, and the industry safely navigate through this global health and economic crisis" while actively engaging "in the process of evaluating all aspects of this uncertain landscape and what changes may need to be made." Though it did not confirm current eligibility changes for its Oscars consideration process in the wake of COVID-19, the Academy is expected to make another announcement in the days ahead.

For the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you are sick, please visit coronavirus.gov.

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