New Oscar Rules Allow Multiple Songwriters, Incorporate Hair Styling

Oscar Statue Portrait 2011
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Oscar Statues on display at the Time Warner Center in New York February 25, 2010 during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "Meet the Oscars, New York " exhibition presented by Kodak. The exhibit will be open to the public until March 7, 2010 the day of the 82nd Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has fine-tooled its rules in several categories -- including visual effects, music, makeup and foreign-language film -- as it heads into the 85th Academy Awards.

But in contrast to recent years, when the Academy first introduced a new field of 10 best picture nominees then revised its voting procedures so that the best picture category can include anywhere from five to 10 nominees, this year’s rule revisions don’t introduce any sweeping changes.


In visual effects, the new rule guarantees that nominees will be chosen from a pool of 10 films chosen by the visual effects branch’s executive committee. Previously, the committee could put forward from seven to 10 films.

In the music branch’s original song category, the executive committee now can recommend a fourth songwriter for an individual song “in rare and extraordinary circumstances.” That amends the rule that has been in effect since 2005, whereby up to two songwriters could be eligible per song, though a third songwriter could be added if he or she were found to be an essentially equal contributor.

The award given in the makeup category now will be known as the Makeup and Hairstyling Award. Additionally, during the nominations process, all branch members who have seen the seven shortlisted titles will receive ballots to list their top three choices.

In the foreign-language category, films must be submitted to the Academy in 35mm or DCP but are no longer required to be exhibited in those formats in their countries of origin.

The new rules, proposed by the awards rules committee, were approved by the board of governors this week.

The 85th Academy Awards are set for Feb. 24 at the newly named Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland.