A Change in Oscar Rules Makes One Category More Exclusive, Another More Inclusive, But with an Asterisk
When the Academy closes a door it opens a window, but only halfway.
This week The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – the Oscar people – made a couple of significant changes to the nomination guidelines for two major categories, Best Documentary Film and Best Animated Film. In the case of the former, the changes make the category more exclusive, and in the case of the latter, they opened the category to a wider range of voters. Allow me to explain, via Deadline, who broke the news.
The changes in the doc category came about owing to the most recent winner, O.J.: Made in America, which caused some controversy when it was nominated seeing as it’s a 7 ½-hour multi-part, limited-run series that premiered at Sundance but then was released on television, specifically ESPN, who produced it. Normally – and by normally I mean “always” – nominees are single shots, one-part films. After listening to arguments on both sides of the issue, the Academy has decided to nip things in the bud by declaring such multi-part films ineligible for nomination consideration. So yet again, O.J. got away with something he shouldn’t have. The Juice Law goes into effect immediately.
As if compensating for this enforced exclusivity, in the Best Animated Film category the Academy opened things up by changing who participates in the nomination process. Until now, films in this category were nominated by a select group of people who worked in animation, as opposed to all Academy members like the other categories. That changes immediately as well, and now everyone gets a say. You might think this would lead to a wider range of pictures being put up, but another change dictates the Best Animated nominees will be selected by a preferential system instead of a straight-up numerical one. This is the same way Best Picture nominees are determined, and it gives, as the name indicates, preferential consideration to studio films over independents owing to larger distribution networks.
As mentioned, these rules go into effect this year.
Over in our corner of the internet we had a lot of really interesting posts go up yesterday, including the latest installment of The Tao of Nic Cage, an exclusive video essay about the last 30 seconds of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, a look at the art of Ghost in the Shell, an exploration of animation as a fallback for failing live-action franchises, and the latest episode of Neil Miller’s The Big Idea in which he discusses the inside story of One Perfect Shot with founder Geoff Todd.
And lastly, take a look at five of the most popular shots we tweeted over the last 24 hours. Want more? You know where to find us.