Rule changes open up Academy Award voting

For the first time, the entire voting membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will automatically be eligible to vote in all 24 Oscar categories. The Academy’s Board of Governors approved a plan 0n 4 May 2013 that will allow members to see the nominated documentary shorts and foreign language films either at a theatrical screening or on DVD.

Prior to the final round of voting in 2014, the Academy will provide members with DVDs of the nominated films in five categories: Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Animated Short Film, and Live Action Short Film.  In previous years, members had been required to see the nominated films in a theatre in order to vote.

The change in rules will open the voting in those categories to a much wider global constituency that in previous years could not attend theatrical screenings to qualify to vote.

Foreign Language runners cut to just nine

Kon Tiki, Norway. One of the nine shortlisted films.

Kon Tiki, Norway. One of the nine shortlisted films.

Just nine films have advanced to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards. Seventy-one films had originally qualified in the category.

The 71 eligible films had been screened between mid-October and 17 December to several hundred Los Angeles-based members. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

Austria, Amour, Michael Haneke, director;
Canada, War Witch, Kim Nguyen, director;
Chile, No, Pablo Larraín, director;
Denmark, A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel, director;
France, The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
Iceland, The Deep, Baltasar Kormákur, director;
Norway, Kon-Tiki, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
Romania, Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, director;
Switzerland, Sister, Ursula Meier, director.

The shortlist will be cut to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, 4 January 4, through Sunday, 6 January, viewing the films and then casting their ballots.