Magazine article Variety

Will Streaming Go Mainstream with Oscar?

Magazine article Variety

Will Streaming Go Mainstream with Oscar?

Article excerpt

It's only a matter of time before Oscar voters see contenders via streaming - but the question is how soon.

It could happen by 2016, but the change seems more likely a few years down the road. However, the process is already in place: Most of the nominees, including the big winners, were available to this year's SAG Awards voters digitally, either via iTunes downloads or streaming on studio-hosted websites. WGA voters also received password-protected links.

The learning curve on streaming will be steep, as studios, guilds and voters need to rethink a procedure that's been used for years. Every guild and awards-voting organization has its own rules of what's allowed in terms of offering films, a situation even more confusing due to rapidly changing technology.

Filmmakers also are concerned about aesthetics. With streaming, viewers might watch a film on smartphones or tablets - not the best way to judge cinematography or sound, for example.

It can cost up to $800,000 and take three to six weeks to manufacture, watermark and ship discs. This lag time was the reason guild voters didn't get screeners of "Selma"; a final print was delivered Nov. …

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