In addition to last week’s monumental change to allow ten picture nominees instead of five, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made two additional changes to their rules. Though certainly minor in comparison to the aforementioned decision, both may have significant implications.
First, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 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 now be selected and announced in September and presented their awards at a celebratory dinner event in November: a black-tie dinner event “for about 500 invitees will include film clips as well as remarks from the honorees’ colleagues and admirers.” In years past, the awards were handed out at the Academy Award ceremony itself.
“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, in a statement. “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. We wanted to achieve more flexibility with these awards. 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.”
The Academy’s Board will hold a special meeting in September to select the year’s honorees. Previously, these awards were voted at the Board’s December meeting.
The other rule change came care of the consistently altered Best Original Song category. The governors approved the Music Branch Executive Committee’s recommendation that if no song achieves a minimum average score of 8.25 in the nominations voting – when voters rate a song on a scale of 6 to 10 – 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 has said that there be no more than five but no fewer than three nominees in the category.
The new, arguably improved 82nd Academy Awards are set for Sunday, March 7, 2010.