The Television Academy is creating a stronger divide between the Emmy Awards and the Oscars. In recent years, documentaries such as “OJ: Made in America” and “Free Solo” have won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the start of the year before going on to compete at the Emmy Awards and win various prizes. In a new statement supporting AMPAS’ decision to allow streaming/VOD films to compete for the 2021 Oscars, the Television Academy confirmed a decision has been reached that disqualifies programs nominated for Oscars from competing for Emmys.
The official Academy statement reads: “The Television Academy supports the recent decision from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to allow feature films, originally intended for theatrical distribution but made available via streaming or video on demand during the current pandemic crisis, to compete at the 2021 Oscars. Further, the Television Academy ruled in March that effective in 2021, programs that have been nominated for an Oscar will no longer be eligible for the Emmys competition.”
There has been much confusion in the past over programs that double dipped between the Emmys and the Oscars. As IndieWire’s TV Awards Editor Libby Hill wrote last May: “The TV Academy draws a line when it comes to theatrical exhibition and Emmys qualification. If you put something on 250-plus screens across four months, as Netflix did with ‘Roma,’ you’ve left Emmys far behind. However, a film that spends a week in theaters for Oscar qualification is still good to go. An entirely different set of TV Academy rules applies to documentaries, which can have a full theatrical life and still go on to a robust Emmys campaign.”
Oscar winning docs like “Free Solo” and “OJ: Made in America” both debuted in theaters to be eligible for Oscars before making their TV debuts for Emmys eligibility. Both projects received their Oscar nominations first, so under the new rules they would be disqualified for the Emmys race. The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are scheduled to take place September 20, 2020. The TV Academy announced in March it would be revising the Emmy calendar and tweaking its hanging episode rules for series and limited series in face of the pandemic.