Oscar Rules Updated for 2025 Awards: Original Score Shortlist Increased, Drive-In Theater Eligibility Removed and More

The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved the new awards rules and campaign regulations for the 97th Oscars ceremony to be held on March 2.

Significant changes have been made in the original score category. Now, up to three composers can receive individual Oscar statuettes if they all significantly contribute to a film’s music. This marks a departure from previous rules that required composers to submit as a group, such as the band Son Lux for the nomination for the best picture winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, winners for the animated film “Soul” (2020), also received a single statuette. The definition of a group has been specified to include a recognized band. Additionally, the shortlist in this category has been expanded from 15 to 20 titles, which will be announced in late December before the official nomination voting period begins in January.

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The Academy will no longer recognize drive-in theaters as a qualifying venue for Oscars eligibility, a measure temporarily adopted in 2020 when indoor movie theaters were closed. That year, the Academy also allowed films shown on streaming and VOD platforms to qualify due to the pandemic.

For a film to be considered for best picture, it must meet the expanded theatrical requirements that were announced in 2023. These include a one-week qualifying run in one of six U.S. markets — now including Dallas-Fort Worth — followed by a seven-day run, either consecutive or non-consecutive, in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets within 45 days of the initial release. Other qualifying markets include Los Angeles County, New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago and Atlanta. Films released later in the year with expansions planned after Jan. 10, 2025, must have their release plans verified by the Academy and complete their runs by Jan. 24, 2025.

Additionally, to be considered for the Oscars’ top prize, films must submit the Academy Representation and Inclusion Standards Entry (RAISE) form, meeting at least two of the four standards. Distributors and production teams are also advised to apply for the PGA Mark Certification for awards determination by the date of the film’s first qualifying run.

In the screenplay categories, submission of the final shooting script is now mandatory for consideration for original or adapted.

Animated films eligible for the best international feature category can also be considered for best animated feature if they meet the requirements for both categories. The eligibility period for the international feature was updated from Nov. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024.

Changes have been made to the Governors Awards as well. The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which recognizes a creative producer’s consistently high-quality work, will now be presented as an Oscar statuette instead of the traditional bust of Thalberg. The last recipients of the Thalberg Award were Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall in 2018. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award definition has been refined to “given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry by promoting human welfare and contributing to rectifying inequities.” Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Lab founder Michelle Satter was bestowed the honor this past year.

Lastly, two awards at the Scientific and Technical Awards have been renamed: the Gordon E. Sawyer Award is now the “Scientific and Technical Lifetime Achievement Award,” and the John A. Bonner Award has been renamed the “Scientific and Technical Service Award.”

For consideration at the Academy Awards, a feature film must have a qualifying theatrical release between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2024.

The complete 97th Academy Awards rules and campaign promotional regulations are on its website.

With an anticipated movie season ahead including the jukebox musical “Joker: Folie à Deux,” key dates are listed below.

Read: Early 2025 Oscars Predictions in every category on Variety’s Awards Circuit.

  • Thursday, Aug. 15, 2024: First submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Feature Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories

  • Thursday, Sept. 12, 2024: First submission deadline for General Entry categories, Animated Feature Film, Best Picture and RAISE form

  • Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2024: Submission deadline for International Feature Film

  • Thursday, Oct. 10, 2024: Final submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories

  • Thursday, Oct. 17, 2024: Final submission deadline for Documentary Feature Film

  • Friday, Nov. 1, 2024: Submission deadline for Music (Original Score) and Music (Original Song) categories

  • Thursday, Nov. 14, 2024: Final submission deadline for General Entry categories, Animated Feature Film, Best Picture and RAISE form

  • Saturday, Jan. 11, 2025: Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound and Visual Effects nominating screenings (bake-offs)

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