In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged economies worldwide and let to lockdowns in a bid to contain the disease, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a tweaking of some of its rules.

A temporary hold on the requirement that a film needs to see a seven-day theatrical run in a commercial theatre to qualify for the Oscars was approved at a meeting of the board of governors on Tuesday.

According to Variety, while films will be allowed to be released digitally, not all movies premiering on OTT platforms can qualify for an Oscar. Instead, the streamed film must have had a pre-planned theatrical release.

“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”

The Academy also announced that the sound mixing and sound editing categories will be clubbed together into one award. This brings the total number of categories to be presented at the show to 23.