Oscars

Behind the scenes at rehearsals for the 2013 Academy Awards. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / February 23, 2013)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a number of new rules Friday designed to tackle a persistent dilemma in the collaborative medium of film -- who, among the long group of artists involved in a movie, goes home with the statuette.

The rules will apply to actors, producers, documentarians and others in contention for the 87th Academy Awards.

In the acting categories, studios and production companies must now limit the number of performers they submit for consideration to a maximum of 10 actors and 10 actresses for each film.

In the best picture category, in determining the number of producers on a motion picture who are eligible for nomination, a two-person producing team shall be considered a single "producer" if the individuals have had an established producing partnership for at least the previous five years and have produced as a team at least two previous theatrically released feature films, instead of a minimum five theatrically released feature films.

On documentary features, the academy seems to be attempting to rein in the often unwieldy category by establishing a baseline of commercial reach. Films must now screen a minimum of four times daily during their qualifying theatrical releases in New York and Los Angeles, and the screenings must begin between noon and 10 p.m., and at least one screening daily must begin between 6 and 10 p.m.

Other changes to academy rules reflect the affect of digital artists on the filmmaking process -- in the production design category, the academy will allow the branch greater flexibility to recognize designers from the visual effects world who contribute to the environment of a film. Previously, only crew credited as "production designers," "art directors" and "set decorators" were eligible.

In what may be called the U2 Rule, the academy has specified that songwriters from established musical groups may now have the option to request that their song submission be considered under their group name. If the request is approved and the song wins the original song award, the group would receive a single statuette. (The U2 song "Ordinary Love," from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," was among last year's original song nominees, with band members Bono, the Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton all named individually).

The 87th Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC.

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