Wednesday, June 25, 2008

AMPAS® Invites and Issues New Rules

Foreign Language Film Entry Forms Go to 95 Countries - -

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®) mailed Foreign Language Film (BFLF) award entry forms to 96 countries yesterday, inviting submissions in the BFLF category for the 81st Academy Awards®, 22 February 2009, rewarding the best of 2008. Last year, the Academy invited 93 countries to submit. Of those who submitted, films from 61 countries were qualified for nomination.

To qualify for the 2008 Awards, a film must be released in the submitting country between 1 October 2007, and 30 September 2008, and be publicly screened in 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital cinema format, for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater.

The dialogue track must be predominantly (not quantified) in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English subtitles are required. The director, producers and the production crew must be predominantly (not quantified) from the country submitting the film.

Entry forms and film prints must be received at the Academy by Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Only one picture will be accepted from each country.

Countries that have not received entry packets but are interested in submitting a film for consideration should contact Awards Coordinator Torene Svitil at (310) 247-3000, ext. 116, or via e-mail at

In 2007, the Austrian film THE COUNTERFEITERS won the Oscar® over a field of nominated films from Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia. See last year's list of qualifying films listed by country.

Minor Rule Change for BFLF Category - -

The governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved the rules for the 81st Academy Awards at their 17 June meeting. Most modifications of the rules include normal date changes and minor “housekeeping” changes. The only significant changes were in the Best Foreign Language Film and the Best Original Song categories.

The change for the BFLF category is mainly procedural. The two-phase process by which the nominees are selected will remain intact. However, the Phase I committee – which is open to any voting member who views a minimum number [not quantified] of the eligible films – will now vote to determine only six of the nine films that will ultimately go to the Phase II committee.

The other three titles will be determined by those members of the 20-member Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee who have qualified to vote in the category. The executive committee’s selections will be made after the Phase I voting has been tallied. Think of the FLF Executive Committee as "super delegates."

This change was evidently made because last year's selection of the final list, from whence the actual nominees came, was a disaster. There was a huge outcry because the highly acclaimed Romanian movie, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, AND 2 DAYS, director Cristian Mungiu, which won best film at Cannes in 2007, did not make the final nomination cut. Some felt it was a political rather than an artistic call because the subject of the movie is forced abortions. Hopefully, things will go better this year. 4 MONTHS is now available on DVD. Click NETFLIX graphic on right sidebar.

Changes in Music Award for Best Original Song - -

There are three changes in the Best Original Song category. First, while there continues to be no limit on the number of songs from a given film that can be submitted for consideration, no more than two songs from any one film may be nominated for an Academy Award. Many felt it was highly unfair that three out of the five song nominations last year went to ENCHANTED.

Second as refers to voting, in addition to the annual screening event at which members of the Music Branch view clips featuring the eligible songs as they appear in the films and vote, DVDs of those same clips will be made available to branch members who are unable to attend the screening; ballots will accompany the DVDs and must be returned by mail.

Thirdly, Music Branch members who have one or more songs in contention for nominations do not vote in the above phase for nomination. Again, to keep the playing field fair. However, they remain eligible to vote on the final ballot to select the winner. See all Academy rules for 81st Oscars.

AMPAS Invites 105 to Become New Members in 2008 - -

The membership policies that the Academy adopted in 2004 in order to slow the growth of the organization would have allowed a maximum of 137 new members in 2008, but as in the previous years, the various branch committees sometimes endorsed fewer candidates than were proposed to them. Voting membership in the organization has now held steady at just under 6,000 members since 2003.

New members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills in September. See list of the 2008 invitees.

The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, 22 February 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. Also, the Oscar presentation will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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