Yesterday the Academy awards announced that they were changing some rules for the 85th annual Oscars. The biggest change was that hairstylists will finally be given credit in the Makeup category, which will be renamed Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This is what the British Academy of Film & Television Arts have been doing for years as well as a number of other organizations, so it's about time the Academy caught up. Some past winners have won largely because of the hairstyling work, so it's only fair to give them credit. In addition, all branch members who've seen the seven shortlist selections will be sent a ballot to select their top three choices.
The other rule changes were mostly technical. For instance, in the Best Original Song category, the prior rule was that two songwriters could be nominated or, in extreme and evident circumstances, a third could be listed. Now, they've expanded that optional "rare and extraordinary circumstances" rule to four potential nominees.
In visual effects, the new rule guarantees that nominees will be chosen from a pool of 10 films chosen by the visual effects branch’s executive committee. Previously, the committee could put forward from seven to 10 films.
And finally, at least as far as the Academy's press release, the only other significant rules change was in the Foreign Language Film category. The change eliminates the requirement that films be exhibited in 35mm or DCP in their home countries. They still have to be submitted to the Academy that way, but this enables smaller countries whose theater systems don't have sophisticated 35mm or DCP technology to still submit their best film for consideration.