Rule Two: Eligibility
- Eligibility for Academy Awards consideration is subject to Rules Two and Three, and to those special rules approved by the Board of Governors that follow.
- All eligible motion pictures, unless otherwise noted (see Paragraph 9, below), must be:
- feature length (defined as over 40 minutes),
- publicly exhibited by means of 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 conforming to ISO/IEC 15444-1 (JPEG 2000), and image and sound file formats suitable for exhibition in commercial Digital Cinema sites.
The audio in a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is typically 5.1 or 7.1 channels of discrete audio and these are the preferred audio configurations. The minimum for a non-mono configuration of the audio shall be three channels as Left, Center, Right (a Left/Right configuration is not acceptable in a theatrical environment).
The audio data shall be formatted in conformance with ST 428-2:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Characteristics and ST 428-3:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Channel Mapping and Channel Labeling.
- for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County,
- for a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days,
- advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles County qualifying run customary to industry practice, and
- within the Awards year deadlines specified in Rule Three.
- Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category. This includes broadcast and cable television as well as home video and Internet transmission. Motion pictures released in such non-theatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County qualifying run remain eligible. Also, ten minutes or ten percent of the running time of a film, whichever is shorter, may be shown in a nontheatrical medium prior to the film’s qualifying run.
- Eligibility is contingent on the receipt by the Academy of the following information on Official Screen Credits forms, available on the Academy’s website, to be signed by the film’s producer or distributor (unless waived by the Academy), which shall include:
- full, complete and authentic credits,
- the name of the Los Angeles County theater where the film has played, and
- the dates of the Los Angeles County qualifying run.
- Eligibility for all awards shall first be determined by credits as they appear on the screen and/or as certified to the Academy by the producing companies, but final determination in any event shall be made by the Academy. The Academy shall not be bound by any contract or agreement relating to the sharing or giving of credit and reserves the right to make its own determination of credit for purposes of Awards consideration.
- In the event of any dispute concerning credits, the Academy reserves the right to declare any achievement ineligible or, alternatively, to reject all claims to credit, list credits as being in controversy and withhold any award until the dispute is resolved.
- The alteration of an achievement by changing a picture from the version shown in Los Angeles County, upon which eligibility is based, shall subject such achievement to the risk of being declared ineligible by the Board of Governors.
- Motion pictures from all countries shall be eligible for the annual awards listed in Rule One Paragraph 3, as long as they satisfy the requirements of the other applicable rules, and contain English-language subtitles if released in a foreign language.
- Exceptions to the eligibility requirements and methods of qualifying listed in Rules Two and Three appear in the Special Rules for the Animated Feature Film award (see Rule Seven), the Documentary awards (see Rule Eleven), the Foreign Language Film award (see Rule Thirteen), the Music awards (see Rule Fifteen), and the Short Film awards (see Rule Nineteen).
To be considered a commercial motion picture venue for Academy Awards purposes, a theater must meet the following criteria:
- Regularly show new releases
- Charge admission
- Have regular non-specialized programming open to the general public
- Exploit and market films through regular listings and advertising
- Generally run films for seven consecutive days, with multiple showings daily
Most of the Academy's Award categories allow for eligibility for award consideration by means of digital presentation, as outlined in "Rule Two—Eligibility" in the Academy's "Rules for Distinguished Achievements."
Here is the language (in bold type) in Rule Two that applies to digital presentation:
"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.
The audio in a typical Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is 5.1 channels of discrete audio and that is the preferred audio configuration, although up to 7.1 channels is acceptable. The minimum for a non-mono configuration of the audio shall be three channels as Left, Center, Right (a Left/Right configuration is not acceptable in a theatrical environment).
The audio data shall be formatted in conformance with ST 428-2:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Characteristics and ST 428-3:2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master Audio Channel Mapping and Channel Labeling."
What does this mean for filmmakers?
The first thing that you will need is what is now called a Digital Cinema Package, commonly abbreviated as DCP. The SMPTE and ISO/IEC documents mentioned in the general rule are international standards that define the technical characteristics of the DCP. As a practical matter, you can rely on specialized digital cinema mastering facilities to provide you with a DCP that will comply with these standards. Your original image capture can be whatever you want (film, digital video, CGI, and so on), but ultimately you will need individual, "one per frame" digital image files for the compression step of the mastering process.
For your qualification screenings, as defined in Rule Two and the special rules for the various categories, you will need to find a commercial theater equipped with a digital cinema projector that meets the requirements outlined in Rule Two, as well as a digital cinema server that will play a SMPTE DCP.
In practice, there are only two types of DCI-compliant digital cinema projectors that are acceptable for your qualification screenings. The first type uses DLP Digital Cinema technology licensed by Texas Instruments to projector manufacturers. Be sure your cinema has a true DLP Digital Cinema projector, one that has a pixel count of 2048 x 1080, and not one of the industrial grade DLP projectors that typically have pixel counts of 1920 x 1024 with reduced color and other image performance characteristics. The second type of projector is the Sony SXRD Ultra HiRes Cinema "4K" series intended for digital cinema applications.
There are several companies who manufacture digital cinema servers that meet the applicable SMPTE specifications, and will play DCPs that are mastered according to these specifications.
These companies include:
- Dolby Laboratories
- Doremi Labs
For more info on DCI specifications and the state of the Digital Cinema progress please go to:
And for up to date Digital Cinema goings on go to: