Oscars institute rules changes

Music, foreign language, visual effects and makeup affected

The film academy’s Board of Governors has instituted rules changes that affect the music, foreign language, makeup and visual effects categories for the Oscars.

The makeup category has been renamed to include hairstyling, and within that category, all branch members who have seen the seven shortlisted titles will receive ballots to list their top three choices during the nominations process.

In the original song category, the exec committee will now be able to recommend that a fourth songwriter for an individual song be considered “in rare and extraordinary circumstances.” Since 2005, the limit has been two songwriters with a third possible if found to be “an essentially equal contributor.”

No changes were made to the selection process for songs themselves, as well as original score, which has come under fire in recent years inside and outside of the Academy. In the most recent Oscars, only two original songs were nominated.

In visual effects, the number of potential contenders chosen by the branch’s exec committee (via secret ballot) for the category’s bakeoff will be 10. Prior to 2011, there was a maximum of seven for the bakeoff, from which three nominees would be selected. But when the Academy expanded the final pool of nominees from three to five, it allowed for a range of seven to 10 bakeoff contenders to be picked. This latest rule change firms up the expansion.

Finally, for foreign language, films must be submitted to the Academy in 35mm or (DCP (digital cinema package), even though they are no longer required to be exhibited in those formats in their countries of origin.

The rules changes were approved at this week’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences meeting of the Board of Governors.

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