No doubt it will be a quiz question of the future, but “Roma” will be the last film to win an Academy Award as best Foreign Language Film after the Academy decided to change the category name to International Feature Film for the 92nd Awards.
“We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” commented Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee. “We believe that International Feature Film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”
The category name change does not change any existing category rules, the submission process, or eligibility requirements. An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are permitted. Only one film is accepted from each country as the official selection.
In addition, the shortlist for the International Feature Film award is expanding to ten films; seven to be chosen by the Phase I International Feature Film Committee, and the additional three to be voted by the International Feature Film Award Executive Committee.
The Academy’s Board of Governors has now approved Oscars rules for the 92nd Academy Awards. Other notable changes and updates include:
In the Animated Feature category, the theatrical release of eight eligible animated features in the calendar year is no longer required for the awards category to be activated. In addition, nominations voting will be automatically open to all active members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch. Other active voting members of the Academy must opt-in to participate in the nominations round.
In the Makeup and Hairstyling category, the number of nominated films is increasing from three to five, and the shortlist is increasing from seven to ten. In addition, the bake-off reels for the films shall not exceed seven minutes in total running time.
In the Short Film categories, Animated and Live Action Short Films now have the option to qualify theatrically in either the City of New York or Los Angeles County to be eligible for submission.
The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to maintain Rule Two, Eligibility for the 92nd Oscars. The rule states that to be eligible for awards consideration, a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission. Motion pictures released in nontheatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County theatrical qualifying run remain eligible.
“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” said Academy President John Bailey. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues.”
Other amendments to the rules included standard date changes and “housekeeping” adjustments.
Rules are reviewed annually by individual branch and category committees. The Awards and Events Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Board of Governors for final approval.
The complete 92nd Academy Awards rules are available at oscars.org/rules.
The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.