Not even a month ago I put out an article on the then new Oscar eligibility rules (so the timeline and how we are back to releases before 31st December). At the end, I very clearly say “here’s hoping this is the first and last article I write on the Academy’s eligibility rules for the year”, yet here we are! However, that was in context of the pandemic potentially pushing these key dates back, much like what happened to this years Academy Awards, this is much different and it’s always a treat when we get news like this out of the blue as it gives us something to dig our teeth into. Hearing news like this helps bridge the gaps of the yearly Oscars.
First things first, the Sound category will now have a preliminary round of voting in order to create a shortlist of 10 potential nominees. This means 10 flicks will be voted to make it to the next stage of the nomination voting period, much like the Makeup & Hairstyling and VFX category. This is probably down to too many movies being submitted for the Sound category and whilst other categories such as VFX or Song (though both are shortlisted) can showcase their work in short clips, Sound is more the atmosphere of a movie therefore you should really watch the whole thing before voting, so narrowing it down to 10 makes it WAY easier.
The Music Branch has changed two things, one, the Original Score category has changed its rules from having to be 60% original music to now just 35%. Good news for a movie like ‘Soul’ where it takes music and reinvents it for the story, bad news for movies like ‘Star Wars’ as we can expect a future where John Williams gets nominated for every note he touches… or maybe we won’t. The Academy were clear to state that if they think the score is diluted too much by non-original music then it simply won’t qualify. How they can monitor this I don’t know but let’s give them the chance first.
Moving on, five songs per movie may be submitted for Best Original Song. This allows more space for other smaller films to show off their original songs without the bigger, blockbuster musicals getting in the way with fifteen different songs. It has also happened in the past where two or more songs from the same movie have made it into the nominations (Dreamgirls and La La Land being top examples) so maybe the Academy doesn’t want this, just an idea.
For all the short categories, the shortlist has been expanded from 10 to 15 candidates, so there’s more short watching for us ladies and gents, HORRAH!
I’d say this is it in terms of changes to rules for next years Academy Awards. I like what they’re doing here, it shows a want from them to move forward and make room for other contenders.