Oscars 2022 Rule Changes Include Tweaks to Sound and Music Categories

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its rules and campaign regulations for the upcoming awards season on Wednesday, roughly a week before the Cannes Film Festival opens in France. That festival often hosts a number of possible Oscars contenders, with the likes of “Parasite” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” screening in the 2019 edition.

One of the most significant announcements came in the artisan categories. For the original score category, for a film to be eligible, a score must be comprised of a minimum of 35% of the total music in the film, lowered from 60% last year. In the original song category, a film can not submit any more than five songs for consideration.

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There will now be a preliminary round of voting in the sound category, with a shortlist of 10 films being announced before the phase one nomination period. Prior to nomination voting, members of the Sound Branch will be invited to a presentation of the shortlisted achievements, similar to what is conducted for visual effects and makeup and hairstyling branch members. Then, the entire sound branch will vote the shortlist and the five selected nominees for the 94th Oscars.

In the international feature category, the Board of Governors adopted and approved the amendments made for the 93rd Oscars, including the expansion of the shortlist from 10 to 15 films. All Academy branches are invited to opt-in and participated in the preliminary and nomination voting rounds but must meet a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote in the category.

For the three shorts – animated short film, documentary short subject and live action short film – the preliminary shortlist will expend from 10 to 15 films. The documentary feature category rules remain unchanged.

As previously announced in June 2020, the best picture category will move beyond its current sliding scale system. Instead, between five and ten films could be nominated in the top category, to a guaranteed 10 as was done in 2009 and 2010. In those respective years, the Academy saw a different makeup of nominees in their coveted top category, including more broadly commercial films like “The Blind Side,” “District 9” and “Toy Story 3,” which all made the cut. This was also due to AMPAS voters filling out 10 films on their nomination ballots instead of five when voting for best picture. The inclusion of more popular movies could bolster Oscar broadcast ratings, which have been in steady decline.

As announced in May, there are two methods of qualification for awards consideration in the best picture and other major categories. First, films that are released theatrically, but initially debut on streaming or VOD may qualify as long as the film is made available on the Academy Streaming Room member site within 60 days of its release. It must also meet other eligibility requirements. This differs from the DGA Awards announcement on Tuesday. The DGA National Board reinstated its requirement of an exclusive theatrical run, which was temporarily suspended due to pandemic-related theater closures. That would eliminate all of Warner Bros’ 2021 released and upcoming slate, including Jon M. Chu’s “In the Heights” and “King Richard,” an upcoming drama that stars Will Smith as Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams.

Campaign regulations, which specify how companies and individuals market their movies to Academy members, were also updated. This will also be the first year that studios’ mailings of DVDs, CDs and physical screenplays are no longer permitted by studios, although digital links to materials will be permitted.

All the submission deadlines are as follows:

Submission deadlines are as follows:

  • Documentary Short Subject – Friday, Oct 15, 2021

  • Animated Short Film – Friday, Oct 15, 2021

  • Live Action Short Film – Friday, Oct 15, 2021

  • Animated Feature Film – Monday, Nov 1, 2021

  • Documentary Feature – Monday, Nov 1, 2021

  • International Feature Film – Monday, Nov 1, 2021

  • Original Score – Monday, Nov 1, 2021

  • Original Song – Monday, Nov 1, 2021

  • General Entry categories – Monday, Nov 15, 2021

The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved rules and campaign regulations for the 94th Academy Awards®.

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