The 90-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association is making more eligibility changes in response to the ongoing pandemic, with the foreign-language film category the latest to be affected. The HFPA is temporarily putting a pin in the rule that states that Best Foreign Language Film contenders must be first released in their country of origin during the 15-month period from October 1 (in this case 2019) to December 31 prior to the awards. The date of the 78th annual Golden Globes, to be hosted by comedy power duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, has yet to be announced.
The new rule states that “foreign-language motion pictures 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 theaters 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.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also paused its rule stating that foreign-language submissions must be presented to members in a screening room or theater. Instead, in lieu of such in-person screenings, “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.”
This is line with the HFPA’s previous announcement stating that from March 15 through whenever theaters reopen in the Los Angeles area, contenders no longer need to be screened for members before or within one week of theatrical release, and if a distributor had a movie in theaters or set to go to theaters and moved it to cable, VOD, or streaming, the film is indeed eligible. Members just have to receive a screening link or DVD to view at home.
The HFPA said it will continue to make evaluations as the global crisis continues, which means there could be more tweaks ahead.