Academy Tweaks Toon Rules

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts announced yesterday that it’s changing its definition of an animated feature film to further clarify the requirements for that category, in light of the emerging technologies now being used in the production of some movies. An animated feature film is now defined as a motion picture of at least 70 minutes in running time, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique. In addition, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time.

Also changing are the rules defining who gets producer credit on features. Two years ago when Bob Yari was denied a producer credit on the Oscar-winning Crash all hell broke loose. Yari raised $7 million to get the Paul Haggis pic made. Because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had recently enacted rules to limit the number of producers of record as far as Oscar was concerned, Yari was persona non grata on Oscar Night.

Now the Acad has a few changes in store. While the producer rule continues to state that the nominees will be those ‘three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions,’ the Producers Branch Executive Committee recommended, and the Board approved, wording that allows a possible exception to that limit. The committee now has the right, in what it determines to be a rare and extraordinary circumstance, to name any additional qualified producer as a nominee. ‘The committee and the governors believe strongly that it’s very important to have a limit on the number of producers who can be nominated and potentially receive an Oscar,’ says Acad chief (and film producer) Sid Ganis.

Academy Award nominations in all categories will be announced on January 22, 2008. The 80th Academy Awards presentation will be telecast live by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 24, 2008.