The Oscars’ newest category is about to see a major change.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have enacted a new rule to the way animated features are nominated.
Normally, each academy voting branch selects its own nominees, then the entire academy votes on the films among those selected nominees to receive the Oscar, with the exception of Best Picture where every branch votes for the films to be nominated. This method allows experts to choose the best yearly works of their field of interest, and then offers the all of the academy voters the chance to choose the best among them. This enabled the category to have a wide variety of blockbusters, independent productions, and foreign language animated films.
Under the new rules, set to affect the Academy’s upcoming 90th Oscars, voting for nominations in the best animated feature category will now be opened to all eligible voting members, as opposed to those specifically in the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.
A press release from the Academy states: “Invitations to join the [animated feature] nominating committee will be sent to all active Academy members, rather than a select craft-based group. Voting in the nominations round will now be preferential instead of based on a numerical scoring system. Members participating on the nominating committee may view films in their theatrical runs or at other screenings, through the Academy’s streaming site or on DVDs/screeners to qualify to vote.”
This new rule could have an effect on the diversity of the categories nominees, given that previous years have proven that most voting academy members don’t see animated features, let alone ones from independent studios or from abroad, and often abstain their votes because of it.
The article below from Cartoon Brew archives some of the animation votes of this year’s ceremony.