Home / Awards / It's About to Get Tougher to Compete for Documentary Oscar

It's About to Get Tougher to Compete for Documentary Oscar

Under the new rule, only documentaries that have been reviewed in The New York Times or the Los Angeles Times will be eligible for Oscar consideration

It's about to get more difficult to be considered for an Oscar for documentary filmmaking.

Under a rule the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plans to announce this week, documentaries won't be eligible for Oscar consideration unless they are first reviewed in either The New York Times or the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times reported the new rule on Sunday.

The paper reported that this new requirement is one of a number of changes the Academy plans to announce this week regarding documentary eligibility rules.

Those changes also involve abolishing the two-step committee process that creates a 15-film doc shortlist and then narrows those 15 to the final five. That process has been widely criticized by many doc observers, and on several occasions by TheWrap.

Also read: Inconvenient Truths About Oscar's Documentary Process

Academy representatives did not immediately return messages Sunday.

According to the Times, the new requirement will reduce the number of movies that the Academy's documentary branch has to watch each year. The branch winnows the number of documentaries to 15 qualifiers and, ultimately, to five nominees.

The number of movies the branch has considered increased from 101 in 2010 to 124 in 2011, the Times reported.

The paper, though, failed to note that the 23 percent increase in submissions coincided with a 25 percent increase in the eligibility period, which was stretched from 12 to 16 months as a one-time move to change the previous September-to-August eligibility period to the calendar year.

Also read: 'Hoop Dreams' Director Is Snubbed Again by Academy

The new rule would not apply to this year's documentaries.