Academy Award Rule Changes: Animation, Documentary, Visual Effects Categories

by Andre Soares

Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern, a possible 2012 Oscar contender in the Best Visual Effects category

In addition to the restructuring of the Best Picture nominations, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have approved the following rule changes (from the Academy's press release):

In the animated feature film category, the need for the Board to vote to “activate” the category each year was eliminated, though a minimum number of eligible releases – eight – is still required for a competitive category. Additionally, the short films and feature animation branch recommended, and the Board approved, refinements to the number of possible nominees in the Animated Feature category. In any year in which eight to 12 animated features are released, either two or three of them may be nominated. When 13 to 15 films are released, a maximum of four may be nominated, and when 16 or more animated features are released, a maximum of five may be nominated. 

In the visual effects category, the “bakeoff” at which the nominees are determined will expand from seven to 10 contenders. The increase in the number of participants is related to a change made last year in which the number of films nominated in the visual effects category was increased from three to five.

Previously, the Board approved changes to the documentary feature and documentary short category rules that now put those categories' eligibility periods in line with the calendar year and thus with most other awards categories. The change means that for the 84th Awards cycle only, the eligibility period is more than 12 months; it is from September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011.

Rules are reviewed annually by individual branch and category committees. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Academy's Board of Governors for approval.

The 2011 Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Photo: Green Lantern (Warner Bros.)

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