Academy Changes Voting Guidelines

Two years after their controversial decision to expand the Best Picture category at the Oscars to include ten nominees, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced an amendment to their voting guidelines. Several changes have been made, but the most notable is that a film must receive 5% of first place votes during the nomination process in order to be nominated for Best Picture. As a result, anywhere from five to ten films may be nominated in the category.

The Academy and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted research to determine how the current policy would have changed the number of films nominated in the Best Picture category over the last 10 years. Bruce Davis, the retiring Academy executive who first proposed the change, notes that “In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies. A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.” The exact number of films nominated in the Best Picture category will not be announced until the nominees themselves are revealed.

The Academy has also made changes to how the number of nominees in the Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects categories is determined, as the number of films eligible for these awards increases each year. The Academy has also changed the eligibility periods for the Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short categories to coincide with the calendar year.

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