Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences changes some of the eligibility and voting rules for the Academy Awards. This year’s revisions were made back on June 14, but some won’t become apparent until the Academy Awards nominees are announced tomorrow morning. Here is what to expect from the changes.
Best Animated Feature – After ten years of being a category that the Academy’s Award Board had to vote on to include with each year’s ceremony, the Best Animated Feature award is now part of the permanent line up. A rule change now allows five nominees in the category if there are more than 16 films that meet the initial qualifications, which is the case this year.
Best Documentary Feature – In previous years, the eligibility release window for documentaries has been slightly different than for the rest of the awards, running between September 1 of the previous year and August 31 of the current year, rather than just the current calendar year. That is being modified this year, with an extended eligibility window of September 1 2010 to December 31, 2011 which will bring the category in line with the eligibility windows of the rest of the categories starting next year. The Academy also announced further eligibility rules last week, but they will only come into effect with next year’s awards.
Best Picture – Film Buff Online Oscar expert William Gatevackes and I discussed the changes to the nomination process for Best Picture when they were first announced last June. The process relies on a preferential balloting system in which nominating Academy members rank films on their ballots and then films that receive at least a minimum of 5% earning a spot on the nomination list. The result should give us anywhere between five and ten nominations in the category. This makes the Best Picture award the only category in which the number of nominations will not be known until they are announced tomorrow, January 24.