Academy Tweaks Song and Honorary Award Rules

Press Release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved the rules for the 82nd Academy Awards at their meeting earlier this week (6/23). In addition to the previously announced change in the Best Picture category, a significant change was made in the Music -- Original Song category.

The governors approved the Music Branch Executive Committee recommendation that if no song achieves a minimum average score of 8.25 in the nominations voting, there be no original song nominees and thus no Oscar presented for the category. If only one song achieves the required minimum, it and the song with the next highest score will be deemed the nominees. If two or more songs achieve the minimum score, they will be the nominees though no more than five nominees can be selected. Previously, the rules dictated that there be no more than five but no fewer than three nominees in the category.

In addition and as previously announced, the Best Picture category will have ten nominees instead of five.

Other modifications of the rules include normal date changes and minor "housekeeping" changes.

Rules are reviewed annually by individual branch and category committees. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Academy's Board of Governors for approval.

Academy Award nominations in all categories will be announced on February 2, 2010. The 82nd Academy Awards presentation will be telecast live by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, March 7, 2010.

Additionally, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to establish a new annual event at which it will present its testimonial awards -- the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award. Honorees will be selected and announced in September and presented their awards at a celebratory dinner event in November. They will also be acknowledged at the year's Academy Awards ceremony.

"For some years now, the Board has struggled to balance the desire to truly honor worthy individuals with the time limitations that the Oscar telecast imposes on these honors," said Academy President Sid Ganis. "By creating a separate event for recognizing these outstanding people in the movie industry, we're insuring that each honoree will be given his or her full due, without compromise."

The Academy's Board will hold a special meeting in September for the sole purpose of selecting the year's honorees. There will not be more than one Hersholt nor more than one Thalberg Award voted in any given year. No more than four testimonial awards will be given in a single year.

"We wanted to achieve more flexibility with these awards," explained Ganis. "But we also need to maintain the integrity of them. By setting the limits that we have, the members of the Board feel they have achieved the appropriate balance."

A black-tie dinner event for about 500 invitees will include film clips as well as remarks from the honorees' colleagues and admirers.

Previously, these awards were voted at the Board's December meeting.

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award are Oscar statuettes; the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is a bust of its namesake. The most recent recipients of each were Jerry Lewis (Hersholt Award) at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony in February of this year, Robert Boyle (Honorary Award) at the 80th Academy Awards ceremony in February 2008, and Dino De Laurentiis (Thalberg Award) at the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony in March 2001.

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