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TV Academy: If your work is nominated for an Oscar, you can’t win an Emmy too

Climber Alex Honnold tackles Yosemite's El Capitan in "Free Solo," a film that won both Emmys and an Oscar.
(Jimmy Chin / National Geographic)

With the motion picture academy allowing streaming and on-demand fare to compete at the 2021 Oscars because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Television Academy reiterated a rule change Thursday that makes Oscar-nominated movies ineligible for the Emmys.

The TV Academy made the alteration in March in an attempt to limit documentaries from catapulting from the Oscar stage to the Emmy podium. National Geographic’s adventure doc “Free Solo” won six Emmys in September after taking the documentary feature Oscar several months earlier.

“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,” the TV Academy wrote in a statement. “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.”

Double-dipping hasn’t been an issue for feature films like Netflix’s “Roma” or “The Irishman,” which opened in theaters a few weeks before streaming. But there has been overlap in the documentary categories with movies like “The Square,” “Citizenfour,” “Icarus” and “RBG” earning both Oscar and Emmy nominations. (“Icarus,” the 2017 doping doc about cyclists, won the Oscar.)

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The TV Academy’s rule change is the latest attempt by an awards group wrestling with the blurring lines of television and film. After Ezra Edelman’s 2016 eight-hour documentary “O.J.: Made In America” won the documentary feature Oscar, the motion picture academy barred multi-part and limited series from the that category. Edelman’s doc premiered at Sundance and saw a theatrical release before running as a five-part series on ESPN.


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