Academy Announces New Rules and Expanded Shortlists for 94th Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced their updated rules for the 94th Academy Awards, which are scheduled for March 27, 2022.

Among the announcements, the Academy has affirmed the plan to return the Best Picture lineup back to a straight list of 10 nominees, rather than the sliding number that has been in place since 2012. This and many of the new or updated rules reflect the growing industry that has seen record numbers of new films submitted in recent years.

This includes new submissions in the International Feature Film category, as more countries and territories develop their film industries and commit to the art of cinematic storytelling. Moving forward, the shortlist of International Features will expand from 10 to 15. Additionally, members from all Academy branches will have the ability to opt in and participate in the nomination process for the category. Anyone wishing to join the process will need to meet a minimum viewing requirement. This should help provide an even richer and more exciting lineup of nominees for this category, while also possibly leading to an even more diverse and international collection of nominees in other categories too.

The Sound category, which last year combined Sound Editing and Sound Mixing into one award, will next implement their own shortlist of 10 films. Much like the Visual Effects and Hairstyling categories, the shortlisted films will be invited to a “bake off” — in other words, a presentation where they share with voters the process for creating the soundscapes for their films. The Sound category’s shortlist and nominees will be voted on by the entire Sound Branch.

There are two changes coming from the Music categories. For Original Song, the maximum number of songs that can be submitted from any one film has increased from two to five, in what is surely welcome news for some upcoming original musicals. And in Original Score, a massive rule change now says a minimum of 35% of a film’s score must be original, reduced from the 60% that has kept many great composers ineligible in recent years.

And finally, the shortlists for the short film categories (Documentary Short, Animated Short, and Live Action Short) will all expand from 10 to 15 films.

The Academy has not announced any new awards categories.

The submission dates for the 94th Academy Awards were also included in today’s announcement:

  • Documentary Short Subject – Friday, October 15, 2021
  • Animated Short Film – Friday, October 15, 2021
  • Live Action Short Film – Friday, October 15, 2021
  • Animated Feature Film – Monday, November 1, 2021
  • Documentary Feature – Monday, November 1, 2021
  • International Feature Film – Monday, November 1, 2021
  • Original Score – Monday, November 1, 2021
  • Original Song – Monday, November 1, 2021
  • General Entry categories – Monday, November 15, 2021

The Board of Governors approved these rule changes.

The 94th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, March 27, 2022 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Written by
Karen Peterson is the Awards Editor for We Live Entertainment. She previously worked as the Assistant Editor at Awards Circuit, now owned by Variety. Her work can also be found at Citizen Dame and at the Watch and Talk podcast. Her non-awards season hobbies include Angels baseball, taking pictures of other peoples' pets, and tweeting about The Bachelor franchise.

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