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2019 Oscars: New Rules in Music and Doc Feature categories and more for 91st Academy Awards

Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced some big changes to the eligibility, campaigning and qualifications for films that want to be considered for the 91st Academy Awards.

Submission deadlines for awards eligibility have been changed.  There is now one submission deadline – Monday, October 1, 2018 – for the Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories.  The submission deadline for Best Picture and all other categories is Thursday, November 15, by 5 p.m. PT.

In the Music categories, all members of the Music Branch will view films eligible for Original Score and film clips of eligible Original Songs and vote in a preliminary round to produce a shortlist of 15 titles in each category using the preferential voting system.  Five nominees for Original Score and five nominees for Original Song will then be chosen by branch members in a second round of balloting also using preferential voting.

In the Documentary Feature category, films that have won a qualifying award at a competitive film festival will be eligible for Academy Awards consideration regardless of any prior public exhibition or distribution by non-theatrical means.  The Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival List will be available later this spring.  Furthermore, the critic review eligibility requirement has been expanded to include additional New York and Los Angeles-based publications.

To align with credits eligibility in the Best Picture category, rules in both the Animated Feature Film and Documentary Feature categories have been updated to allow for more than one producer to be designated as a nominee.

In a procedural change, members of the Visual Effects Branch Nominating Committee will now be able to stream bake-off reels from the shortlisted films or attend satellite bake-off screenings and vote online.  Previously, committee members were only able to vote in person at the Academy’s Visual Effects Bake-off in Los Angeles.

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 and Events 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 promote to Academy members any movies and achievements eligible for the 91st Academy Awards, are also presented to the Board of Governors for approval.

For the first time, studios, distributors and filmmakers will be required to use an Academy-approved mailing house to send sanctioned awards materials for eligible films to Academy members.  Each approved mailing house will be provided with an official list of Academy members who have opted-in along with their contact information to facilitate both physical and digital mailings.

Additionally, the number of post-nominations screenings with a filmmaker Q&A is now limited to a maximum of four regardless of category or country in which the event takes place.  This rule eliminates the two additional screenings currently allowed for Documentary and Foreign Language Film nominees.

For the complete 91st Academy Awards rules, visit oscars.org/rules.

The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.  The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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