Oscar Rodeo Rules: Short Animation Submission Qualification and Rule 19
Animated shorts have always contained a certain outlaw spirit. Unhindered by the marketing concerns, the big budgets, or the massive machine of a feature production, a short can speed ahead full blast, fueled by the dreams of the ambitious, the idealists, and the proudly nuts. Filmmakers, knowing their baby is headed to the festival circuit or the open range of the internet, can craft something risky, genre-defining, or intensely personal. Making a short animated film, though it can feel like a Sisyphean task at times, can also feel like a radical act of pure cinematic rebellion.
But when it comes to that most prestigious and coveted of prizes – the Academy Award for Short Animated Film – eligibility for nomination is strictly a matter of playing by the rules. Rules, it seems, that many younger filmmakers are unaware of. Rules that can cost otherwise worthy work a chance at Oscar gold.
Let’s try to set the record straight and talk a bit about the prevailing confusion surrounding the rules of short film qualification. In addition to digging into the Academy’s rulebook, we’ll address the potentially controversial questions the rules raise (that, as it turns out, have fairly non-controversial answers).
So, what’s all the fuss about? Let the rules regarding short film eligibility speak for themselves. The following copy regarding Rule 19, which governs the Short Film awards, is taken directly from Academy’s website, accessible here (http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/rule19.html):
(III. Eligibility, Rule A, 1) The picture must have been publicly exhibited for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for a run of at least three consecutive days with at least two screenings a day. All eligible motion pictures must be publicly exhibited using 35mm or 70mm film, or in a 24- or 48- frame progressive scan Digital Cinema format with a minimum projector resolution of 2048 by 1080 pixels, source image format conforming to ST 428-1:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master—Image Characteristics; image compression (if used) conforming to ISO/IEC 15444-1 (JPEG 2000), and image and sound file formats suitable for exhibition in commercial Digital Cinema sites.
(III. Eligibility, Rule A, 3) The film must have won a qualifying award at a competitive film festival, as specified in the Academy Festival List. Proof of the award must be submitted with the entry. The Academy's Short Film Awards Festival List is available on the Academy's website or may be obtained from the Academy. (List of qualifying festivals provided here: http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/shortsfestivals.html)
(III. Eligibility, Rule A, 4) A student film may also qualify by winning a Gold Medal award in the Academy's 2012 Student Academy Awards competition in the Animation, Narrative, Alternative, or Foreign Student Film award category. Winners in the Documentary category are not eligible.**