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The Academy Announces New Rule Changes to Various Categories for 2022 Oscars

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Board of Governors announced on Wednesday new rule changes to various categories at the Academy Awards, notably in the sound and music branches.

The biggest changes include that the Best International Feature Film and Short Film categories will expand its shortlist from 10 films to 15 before it’s narrowed down to the 5 nominees. This makes room for a variety of films to be visible to Oscars pundits and voters apart from the mainstream releases. Additionally, the Best Picture line up will expand to a full 10 nominees, as compared to the fluctuating number between 5 and 10 under the previous rule that we’ve had. However, this was also announced last year so the official announcement is nothing unexpected.

After condensing both Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories to just Sound Mixing last year, the Board of Governors has announced that the 2022 awards will introduce a “bake off”, similar to the Visual Effects and Makeup & Hair categories. There will be 10 shortlisted films that will have portions screened for the Sound Branch to highlight the film, and from there, five nominees will be chosen. The Sound Branch used to have a “bake-off” until 2006, but it was discontinued.

The Academy also announced that it’s Original Score Category will lower it’s requirement from 60% original music to 35%. This opens the door for a plethora of scores to be nominated, many of which would have been disqualified under the older rules, and also allows filmmakers more leeway in their artistic vision of the film without sacrificing awards chances.

The last major rule change is that films may not submit any more than five songs from any one film for the Music (Original Song) category. While this may not normally cause any problems, it’ll certainly change how the race will look with the plethora of original musicals that are being released this year, such as Anette and Cyrano.

The official rule changes according to the Academy’s website are as follows:

  • In the Sound category, there will now be a preliminary round of voting for the Sound award to determine a shortlist of 10 films. Prior to nominations voting, Sound Branch members will be invited to a presentation of the shortlisted achievements, similar to the process in the Visual Effect and Makeup & Hairstyling categories. The entire Sound Branch will vote to select the shortlist as well as nominations.
  • In the Music (Original Score) category, for a score to be eligible, it must comprise a minimum of 35% of the total music in the film, lowered from 60%
  • In the Music (Original Song) category, no more than five songs from any one film may be submitted.
  • In the Documentary Short Subject, Animated Short Film, and Live Action Short Film categories, the shortlist will expand from 10 to 15 films.

Submission deadlines for the following categories have also been announced:

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

Original Score – Monday, November 1, 2021

Original Song – Monday, November 1, 2021

General Entry categories – Monday, November 15, 2021

The announcement from the Board of Governors ends with a reminder that this year there will be no physical copies of films or screeners sent out to voters due its environmental impact, and instead voters can view films on a private Academy streaming service. The decision has been controversial amongst both pundits and voters, speculating that the choice could result in lower voter turnout, or complete absence of voting from older Academy members.


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Written by Tyler Strandberg

Tyler Strandberg is a Film, TV, and Media analyst from Minnesota. His enjoyment of film started in 2016, and he has been writing film reviews as a hobby ever since.

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