Two of the always-controversial Oscar categories are affected by some new rule changes at the Academy, announced today.
First up, the award for Original Song has streamlined their "sing off" procedure, but the biggest change in the category is that, from now on, only two songs per film will be able to reach the final nominations ballot. Presumably, this is in response to the last two years, when Dreamgirls and Enchanted dominated the nominees with three tunes each.
And for the annual rules change in the Foreign Language Film category, judging of the nine finalists will now be altered so that three of those will be selected by a special committee. One can easily assume that this will eliminate such embarrassments as last year's snubs of expected shoo-ins 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Persepolis. Those two films in particular were acclaimed as the best foreign films of 2007 by every other awards group ... except the Oscars.
No other changes, such as in the confusing "native language" clause or the archaic "one film per country" rule, were made at this time. Nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards will be announced January 22, 2009, followed by the presentation of the Oscars on February 22.