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New 2025 Oscar Rules Specify New Composer Eligibility, Inclusion Requirements, No More Drive-In Eligibility

The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved awards rules and campaign promotional regulations for the 97th Academy Awards. 

Many of these changes feel both like revisions to pandemic-era exceptions, as well as reactions to recent qualms about qualifying periods for new releases and, most significantly, the Best Original Score category. Let's take a look at the biggest changes.

BEST PICTURE QUALIFICATIONS  

For Academy Awards consideration, a feature film must have a qualifying theatrical release between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024. Films distributed only in drive-in theaters will no longer qualify (after AMPAS temporarily allowed both drive-ins and VOD as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Dallas-Forth Worth will be added as a qualifying U.S. metropolitan area where Best Picture-qualifying films can screen (in addition to Los Angeles County, New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Illinois, and Atlanta, Georgia). 

Other than that, the theatrical eligibility requirements previously announced in 2023 will take effect. Upon completion of an initial one-week qualifying theatrical run, a film must meet the following additional theatrical standards for Best Picture eligibility:

  • Expanded theatrical run of seven days, consecutive or non-consecutive, in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets, no later than 45 days after the initial release in 2024.
  • For late-in-the-year films with expansions after January 10, 2025, distributors must submit release plans to the Academy for verification.
  • Release plans for late-in-the-year films must include a planned expanded theatrical run, as described above, to be completed no later than January 24, 2025.
  • Non-U.S. territory releases can count towards two of the 10 markets.
  • Qualifying non-U.S. markets include the top 15 international theatrical markets plus the home territory for the film.

REPRESENTATION AND INCLUSION

On top of the eligibility requirements, a film vying for Best Picture must also now submit and qualify for two of the four standards set by the Academy Representation and Inclusion Standards Entry (RAISE) form.

Furthermore, distributors and/or producing teams should submit for PGA Mark Certification or awards determination no later than the film’s first commercial screening in its qualifying run.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

By far the biggest changes to the Oscar rules come in the Best Original Score category. Now, up to three composer will be allowed to get individual statuettes (rather than having to share a single statue), provided they all contributed equally to the score. (Before, composers had to submit as a group; e.g. Son Lux for "Everything Everywhere All at Once".) The rules now clarify the definition of a group as a recognized band. The category's shortlist will also increase from 15 to 20 titles.

OTHER CHANGES

  • Animated feature films submitted in the International Feature Film category are now eligible for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category if eligibility requirements outlined for both categories are met.
  • The new eligibility period for the International Feature Film category is November 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024.
  • In the Writing categories, a final shooting script will now be required for submission.
  • Changes were also made to the testimonial awards presented at the Governors Awards. The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, given to a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production, will now be presented as an Oscar® statuette. The definition of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was revised to clarify the broad term humanitarian efforts; the award will be “given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry by promoting human welfare and contributing to rectifying inequities.”
  • Two special awards presented at the Scientific and Technical Awards have been renamed:
    • Gordon E. Sawyer Award to “Scientific and Technical Lifetime Achievement Award”
    • John A. Bonner Award to “Scientific and Technical Service Award”

SUBMISSION DEADLINES, ADDITIONAL KEY DATES

Thursday, August 15, 2024: First submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Feature Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories

Thursday, September 12, 2024: First submission deadline for General Entry categories, Animated Feature Film, Best Picture and RAISE form Wednesday, October 2, 2024: Submission deadline for International Feature Film Thursday, October 10, 2024: Final submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories Thursday, October 17, 2024: Final submission deadline for Documentary Feature Film Friday, November 1, 2024: Submission deadline for Music (Original Score) and Music (Original Song) categories Thursday, November 14, 2024: Final submission deadline for General Entry categories, Animated Feature Film, Best Picture and RAISE form Saturday, January 11, 2025: Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound and Visual Effects nominating screenings (bake-offs)

The Academy also updated and clarified formatting and language in the campaign promotional regulations for the 97th Oscars. The campaign promotional regulations specify how motion picture companies and individuals directly associated with Oscars-eligible motion pictures may promote such motion pictures, achievements and performances to Academy members and how Academy members may promote Oscars-eligible motion pictures, achievements and performances. All rules and dates for the 97th Academy Awards are subject to change.

For the complete 97th Academy Awards rules and campaign promotional regulations, visit oscars.org/rules. For information on the Inclusion Standards, visit raise.oscars.org/home.

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