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Academy changes eligibility rules for docs

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences Board of Governors has approved a change to the documentary category in the Academy Awards that deems multi-part or limited series not eligible ...
April 7, 2017

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences Board of Governors has approved a change to the documentary category in the Academy Awards that deems multi-part or limited series not eligible for awards consideration.

Under these new rules, the 2017 Academy Award winning Best Documentary Feature,  O.J.: Made in America from director Ezra Edelman, likely would not qualify for the documentary category.

Made in America was eligible because it was first released theatrically, in its entirety, at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016. It was then released in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York, before premiering as a five-part miniseries on ABC and continuing on to ESPN.

The previous rule stated that entries had to be a single feature, with a theatrical release, and excluded doc episodes from a larger series and segments taken from a single “composite” program.

The new addition to the ineligibility of multi-part or limited series will come into effect for the 90th Academy Awards.

The changes were approved March 28, as a broad set of tweaks to the Oscar rules and campaign regulations.

Annually, the individual branches and category committees review the rules. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Board of Governors for approval.

Image by Matt Petit / A.M.P.A.S.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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