Oscar rules tuned up

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has retuned its Oscar music categories and made some nips and tucks in other sections.

The rule books reflecting these changes were mailed to AMP AS’ 5,027 voting members Aug. 29. The new rules – which include the previously announced changes in the feature documentary category – apply to the 68th Academy Awards; nominations will be unveiled Feb. 12, and the awards will be handed out March 25.

New originals

Under the revisions, the category known as original song score will become the original musical or comedy score.

The old category was used infrequently, to honor films that contained numerous songs; the last time this Oscar was presented was in 1984, for “Purple Rain.”

The new category will still include song scores, but will add instrumental scores from musicals, comedies, light romances and most animated pics.

As a result of broadening that area, the original score category has become original dramatic score, to reflect that it will be for dramatic and action films.

For hybrid cases – i. e., comedy-dramas – musicians will get together as a committee to decide in which category the film falls in.

Docu revision

As previously reported, the feature docu category also has been revamped. Arising from an executive investigation into the voting procedures for documentary features and shorts, the Academy introduced changes, including a requirement that all submissions be screened in total by the viewing committee and that there be an additional viewing panel in New York City. Further changes will be incorporated for the 69th edition.

Rules in the foreign-language film category, another frequent hot potato, were not altered, though the wording of the rules has been clarified. New lingo includes a requirement that films have “accurate English subtitles” and a statement that “the Academy has the right to make final determination in questions of eligibility.”

This is the first year that visual effects is an official branch, but neither the method of nomination nor the nature of the awards in that area were altered.

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