Awards

Motion Picture Academy Announces New Music Category Rules for 2022 Oscars

Oscars
VALERIE MACON / AFP

An Oscar Statue is displayed at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball press preview at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center, in Hollywood, California, on January 31, 2020.

Both songs and scores must be submitted by Nov. 1 to be eligible for next year's awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has relaxed a rule in the best original score category for next year’s Oscars. To be eligible, the rules used to require a score to comprise a minimum of 60% of the total music in the film. (The rest of the music could consist of new or old songs that were not part of the original score.) Going forward, the score need only comprise 35% of the total music in the film.

That was one of several rule changes for the upcoming 94th annual Academy Awards that were announced Wednesday (June 30). The changes were voted on by the Academy’s board of governors.

In the best original song category, going forward, no more than five songs from any film may be submitted. Previously, there was no limit on the number of songs that could be submitted from a film. No more than two songs from any film may be nominated, same as before.

The change in the score category is consequential. Writing in The Los Angeles Times, Glenn Whipp observed, “That higher threshold had barred many acclaimed scores over the years, including several 2020 contenders, among them Judas and the Black Messiah, One Night in Miami…, Sound of Metal and Let Them All Talk. Under the new rules, they would now qualify."

This year, the score award went to Soul (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste). The other nominees were Da 5 Bloods (Terence Blanchard), Mank (Reznor and Ross), Minari (Emile Mosseri) and News of the World (James Newton Howard).

The board also approved rules and campaign regulations for the 94th Academy Awards.

As previously announced, the eligibility period for Academy Awards consideration will return to the standard Dec. 31 deadline. A feature film must have a qualifying release date between March 1 and Dec. 31 of this year to qualify.

With theatrical exhibition still impacted by the pandemic, eligibility requirements for the 94th Academy Awards will be consistent with the addendums made for the 93rd awards season. They can be found here.

For films that open in theaters, the six qualifying U.S. metropolitan areas are Los Angeles County, the city of New York, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta. Following this year, the Academy intends to expand the qualifying requirements for the 95th awards.

Additionally, beginning with the 94th Academy Awards, the best picture category will be set at 10 nominees, rather than a fluctuating number of nominations from year to year. This change was first announced a year ago.

Here’s a summary of changes in other categories:

In the documentary short subject, animated short film and live action short film categories, the shortlist will expand from 10 to 15 films.

In the sound category, there will now be a preliminary round of voting for the sound award to determine a shortlist of 10 films. Prior to nominations voting, sound branch members will be invited to a presentation of the shortlisted achievements, similar to the process in the visual effects and makeup & hairstyling categories. The entire sound branch will vote to select the shortlist as well as nominations.

In the international feature film category, key rule amendments made in the preliminary round of voting for the 93rd Awards and approved in January 2021 remain unchanged. This includes an expanded shortlist of 15 films and members from all Academy branches being invited to opt in and participate in the preliminary and nominations rounds of voting. Members must meet a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote in the category.

Submission deadlines are as follows:

Documentary short subject – Oct. 15
Animated short film – Oct. 15
Live action short film – Oct. 15
Animated feature film – Nov. 1
Documentary feature – Nov. 1
International feature film – Nov. 1
Original score – Nov. 1
Original song – Nov. 1
General entry categories – Nov. 15

Campaign regulations, which specify how companies and individuals may market to Academy members, were also updated. The mailings of DVDs, CDs and physical screenplays are discontinued starting this year. Access to the Academy Screening Room will continue to be made available for all eligible releases. Digital links to materials will be permitted.

For the complete 94th Academy Awards rules, visit oscars.org/rules.