The Academy is Changing How They Nominate Animated Features and Shorts

category-animated-feature-filmOne of the odder little below the line details about the Oscars and specifically the Academy is their nomination processes in certain categories. They’ve gotten a bit better about this in recent years, but one of the notable outliers has always been Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short. Well, apparently that’s finally changing. Scott Feinberg over at The Hollywood Reporter has a story that details how it now won’t be just L.A. members who attend Sunday screenings, but finally a larger and more diverse group via screeners. You can read a lot more from the article below, but I do think this is a welcome change that levels the playing field and is more indicitive of a true selection by the Academy. Now, if we could only get the quality of titles in contention to improve!

Here’s a piece of Feinberg’s story (found in its entirety here) in The Hollywood Reporter:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will soon announce changes to the way it picks its best animated feature and shorts nominees for the Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The move will make it easier for more of its 6,000 or so members to participate in the decision-making process, and almost certainly lead to a marked increase in the number of people who actually determine the nominees.

Nominees in those categories historically have been chosen by only a relatively small number of Los Angeles-based volunteers. Half have been members of the Short Films and Animated Feature branch and half have been members of one the Academy’s other branches, but all have had to be not only unaffiliated with any of the movies in contention, but also available to attend L.A. screenings of the eligible films over several Sundays starting in November. This group is known as the Animated Feature Film Award Screening Committee.

The new rule change will enable Academy members who are based outside of the L.A. area to serve on the Screening Committee, as well, by permitting them to weigh the eligible films by watching them on DVD or Blu-Ray screeners, as opposed to having to attend the official screenings.

This decision is consistent with other recent Academy efforts to find ways to include more members in more voting decisions. For instance, the Academy recently began providing screeners of all of the nominated documentary features, animated shorts, documentary shorts and live-action shorts to all members of the Academy, so that they can easily see and weigh in on the final outcome in those races. And it recently announced plans to send all of the nominated foreign language films to the entire membership, as well.

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!