Academy tweaks effects Oscar rules

Committee meets on Dec. 13 to narrow field

Faced with a growing number of f/x-laden tentpoles contending for just three Oscar noms, the Motion Picture Academy is tweaking its visual effects Oscar nomination process.

The visual effects branch steering committee, which comprises a cross-section of specialties and companies, will meet on Dec. 13 to narrow the field of contenders to 15 films.

The steering committee will then meet a second time on Jan. 3 to further narrow that list to seven films that will compete in the annual “bakeoff.”

The entire branch will meet for the Jan. 16 bakeoff and vote for the three Oscar nominees immediately afterward.

In years past, the steering committee would choose the seven bakeoff films in mid-December.

Visual effects supervisor Kevin Rafferty, a member of the Academy, told Daily Variety that the change should be a positive one.

“In the past, the steering committee would sit around a table and pick the seven from memory,” Rafferty said. “If the steering committee picks 15 a little bit earlier and has some time to view them and refresh their minds about what they thought was groundbreaking about those 15, it’ll be a much more informed decision about whittling that down to seven.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers will tabulate the ballots following the Dec. 13 and Jan. 3 votes. Results will be announced the following mornings.