The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences unveiled a slate of changes for its 73rd annual Oscar kudocast, which include revisions of eligibility, changed category names and new ad restrictions.
The Acad board of governors made two changes in eligibility — one involving the Internet, and the other in the foreign-lingo category, which is a potential boon to foreign films.
Any film that is shown on the Internet before theatrical exhibition will be ineligible for Oscars. The new ruling underlines the Acad’s rule that “films which receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category.”
The bylaws will now read, “This includes broadcast and cable television, as well as homevideo marketing and Internet transmission.”
Acad executive director Bruce Davis on Thursday told Daily Variety, “The board just wants to make it crystal clear, so that in the rush to embrace new technologies, a legitimate theatrical motion picture doesn’t inadvertently jeopardize its eligibility.”
In another change, foreign-lingo films that are submitted, but not nominated, in one year, will now be eligible the following year in other categories — acting, writing, editing, etc. — if the pic is released in L.A. County that year.
The reason for the change is “Run Lola Run,” explained John Pavlik, the Acad’s director of communications.
“The film was submitted by Germany for the 71st Academy Awards, yet it had not yet opened in L.A. It was released here in 1999 and was not able to resubmit.” Many thought the film could have been a contender in several Oscar categories. “Under these new rules, the committee is giving excellent films as many chances as they can,” said Pavlik.
Two modifications were made in the music and sound categories.
The original song score race will now be titled “original musical.” The new definition states that songs must be “substantively rendered, clearly audible, intelligible and must further the storyline.” Pavlik stresses that the storyline clause is the essential addition.
Sound variations included the deletion of the word “effects” from the category formerly known as “sound effects editing.” The committee also tightened restrictions of involvement in the sound design of a film that a supervising sound editor must have for eligibility in the sound editing category.
In the docu category, a new rule prohibits a film that’s included in the second-round competish from advertising itself as an Academy Awards finalist, or anything similar.
One final change was made in the short-films category. Formats requiring special technical presentations, such as Imax submissions, will be considered in their original formats if made available for Acad voting screenings in L.A. Previously, reduction prints were mandatory.
Other rule variations include the normal date changes and further renumbering of existing rules. The official rules booklet will be available the first week of August.