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Academy Introduces New Rules for Oscar Awards in Documentary Competition


Starting from the 90th edition of the prestigious Academy Awards, a new set of rules will apply for competing titles. The new regulations also include changes in the documentary category, making multi-part or limited series ineligible for awards consideration.

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences' Board of Governors approved the revised Oscars rules and campaign regulations for the 90th Academy Awards at their most recent Board meeting on Tuesday, March 28. With a view on future submissions for the documentary category, states that "multi-part or limited series are not eligible for awards consideration. The Documentary Branch Executive Committee will resolve all questions of eligibility and rules".

Realscreen magazine suggests in a related article that 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.

Details regarding the rules for the documentary awards are listed in this PDF in the section 'Special Rules for the Documentary Awards' (90th Academy Awards of Merit), which - among other eligibility criteria - states that:

Only individual documentary works are eligible. This excludes from consideration:

• multi-part or limited series,

• episodes extracted from a larger series,

• segments taken from a single “composite” program, and

• alternate versions of ineligible works.

The individual branches and category committees for the Academy Awards review the rules on an annual basis. All proposed changes are then reviewed by the Awards Rules Committee prior to presenting its recommendations to the Board of Governors for approval.

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