Film academy rules ineligible documentary series like 'OJ'

LOS ANGELES Multi-part documentary series will be ineligible for the Oscars, organizers said on Friday as part of a new list of awards rules, just a few months after ESPN's serialized "O.J.: Made in America" won the Oscar for best feature documentary.

The new addition to the ineligibility of multi-part or limited series will come into effect for the 90th Academy Awards. It was then released in select theaters in Los Angeles and NY, before premiering as a five-part miniseries on ABC and continuing on to ESPN. Members participating on the nominating committee may view films in their theatrical runs or at other screenings, through the Academy's streaming site or on DVDs/screeners to qualify to vote. With today's new rule, that appears to have been done. Rule", since it was inspired by ESPN Films' O.J.: "Made in America, the five-part, 7.5-hour epic that the 277-member doc branch nominated for - and the entire Academy then awarded - best doc feature earlier this year.

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The film academy also announced changes to the best animated feature category that could favor larger studio blockbusters over smaller independent or foreign films. Voting now will be on a preferential rather than numerical-based scoring system. In the Best Picture category, the Academy will now recognize a bona fide "team" of not more than two people to be a "single producer" if the pair have had an established producing partnership as determined by the Producers Guild of America Producing Partnership Panel. Questions of eligibility will be resolved by the documentary branch's executive committee.

Most categories select their own nominees, trusting in the expertise of each branch. The original score category will allow three or more "equally contributing composers" on a film to be considered as a group for nomination, but if they win, the group will receive a single Oscar statuette. But the rules do not prohibit reasonable food or beverages being served at screening venues or adjacent locations.

  • Michelle Webb