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2022 Oscars: what are the eligibility criteria for the Academy Awards?

A total of 276 films were eligible for nomination for the 94th Academy Awards, which take place at Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre at the end of March.

2022 Oscars: what are the eligibility criteria for the Academy Awards?

Having relaxed its eligibility requirements for the 2021 Oscars amid the covid-19 pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has again made it easier for movies to qualify for its 2022 awards.

Academy allows streaming, VOD releases once more

To be considered for the general-entry Oscar categories - such as Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director - Academy rules previously stated that a film must have been released within the period of eligibility at a cinema in Los Angeles County.

However, with the pandemic causing the closure of theatres in 2020, this requirement was changed ahead of last year’s awards, and with cinemas still in the process of reopening in 2021, it was confirmed last May that this rule relaxation would be maintained in 2022.

Films now qualify through two routes. Movies that open on streaming or video-on-demand services are allowed, as long as they are intended for theatrical release. In this case, the film must also be made available on the Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of coming out.

Films are also in if they have been released in theatres in one of six metropolitan areas of the US - LA County, New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami or Atlanta. The movie must run for at least seven straight days at the same venue, with at least one screening between 6pm and 10pm.

A sign announcing the upcoming Oscars Award show towers over Hollywood Boulevard, March 18, 2022, in Hollywood, California.
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A sign announcing the upcoming Oscars Award show towers over Hollywood Boulevard, March 18, 2022, in Hollywood, California.ROBYN BECKAFP

No extension of eligibility period

However, while the Academy also widened the period of eligibility for the 2021 Oscars, allowing films released between 1 January 2020 and 28 February 2021, the regular 10-month window has returned this year. The 2022 Academy Awards will honour movies that came out between 1 March and 31 December 2021.

General-entry films must also have a running time of at least 40 minutes, and conform to particular visual and audio format standards, the Academy says.

In all, 276 films were eligible for the 2022 Oscars, the Academy revealed in January (take a look at the full list). The nominees were then confirmed in February, The Power of the Dog and Dune leading the way with 12 and 10 nominations, respectively. Also among the stand-out contenders are Belfast and West Side Story, which are each up for seven awards.

New inclusion requirements as of 2024

Beginning in 2024, eligibility for the Best Picture Oscar will be subject to new representation and inclusion requirements announced by the Academy in September 2020. To qualify for consideration, films will have to meet diversity standards covering race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them,” Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said.

Find out more about the Academy’s representation and inclusion requirements

See also:

How are Oscars nominees and winners voted for?

The Oscars nominees and winners are voted for by the members of the Academy, which include film artists working in 17 different branches of motion-picture production, such as actors, directors and writers (check out the full list of branches).

Each member may nominate up to five candidates each for categories within their branch, and for Best Picture. Contenders must accrue a certain amount of nominations to make the final list of nominees.

Once the nominees are set, members then cast their votes for the winners of each award. At this stage, voters are no longer limited to their own branch.

2022 Oscars: when and where?

Hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, the 94th Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday 27 March 2022. In the US, the event will be aired from 8pm ET/5pm PT on ABC.


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