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Academy Awards renames 'Foreign Language' category to 'International Feature' film

The board held its annual meeting on 23 April to plan changes in next year's 92nd edition.

Sonal Pandya

Like every year, the 54 members that make up Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) had their board meeting to decide on the next edition of the world's most prestigious film awards. The board decided against a no-Netflix rule, as was widely reported in the months leading up to this meeting.

The Academy chose to go ahead with Rule Two which states "a theatrical qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily". Digital platforms like Netflix were said to have 'flouted' the rules by releasing their online films theatrically to be eligible for the Oscars.  

"We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” president John Bailey said in the Academy's press release. “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.”

Instead, changes were announced in the animated feature, makeup and hairstyling, foreign language film and the animated and live action short film categories. Notably, the foreign language film is now titled international feature film.

In the same release from the Academy, Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee, stated, "We have noted that the reference to 'foreign' is outdated within the global filmmaking community. 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 international film shortlist increases from seven to 10. The first seven will be chosen by the Phase I International Feature Film Committee and rest will be chosen by the International Feature Film Award Executive Committee.

The nominees for makeup and hairstyling have been expanded from three to five. The shortlist for this category too grows from seven to 10. The bake-off reels for the film, prior to the nomination selections, should not go over seven minutes.

Earlier, eight animated features had to be eligible in order for the animated feature category to be initiated. The growing number of animated films releases each year prompted the change. Furthermore, all members of the short films and feature animation branch will select the nominees, not just a committee, and other Academy members can opt-in to select the nominees if they desire.

Finally, for the short categories, both animated and live action short films can either qualify being screening in either City of New York or Los Angeles County. New York has now been added as an extra city for the screenings.