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Academy Tweaks Oscar Rules for Best Picture, Visual Effects

The Academy’s board of governors on Tuesday made a few adjustments to Oscars rules and campaign regulations, with no major shakeups in any category. And, despite some advance drumbeating by opponents, the Acad maintained the current system of best-picture contenders, with a variable five to 10 nominees.

Every year in June, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hears reports from various Oscar committees, including the rules and campaign panel.  This year, the board approved a tweak in the best picture category. To qualify as a nominee for a nominated picture, the producer must have been deemed eligible for a Producers Guild of America award for the picture, or must have appealed the PGA’s refusal of such eligibility. Final determination of the qualifying producer nominees will be made by the Academy’s producers branch executive committee.

In the visual effects category, the number of eligible films that will be initially shortlisted has increased to a maximum of 20 titles. However, the number of movies that will be shortlisted for nominations voting remains at 10.

For documentary short subject, the number of films that will be shortlisted for nominations voting has increased from eight to 10 titles. Instead of a possible three, four or five nominees, the number is now set at five.

In the animated short film and live-action short film categories, a film qualifying via a theatrical release must now have a theatrical run in Los Angeles County for at least seven consecutive days, with at least one screening per day. The film must also appear in the theater listings along with the appropriate dates and screening times. In both categories, the number of nominees is now set at five.

Other amendments to the rules include standard date changes and other “housekeeping” adjustments.

Rules are reviewed annually by individual branch and category committees. The awards rules committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the board of governors for approval.

Updated campaign regulations, which specify how companies and individuals may market to Academy members any movies and achievements eligible for the 88th Academy Awards, are also presented to the board for approval.

The 88th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 28 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and will be televised live on ABC, with the show (including red-carpet coverage) starting at 4 p.m. PT.

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