In order to be eligible for an Academy Award, your feature-length documentary film will need to be reviewed by the L.A. Times or N.Y. Times.
In an effort to both pare down the number of documentaries eligible for Oscar consideration and increase the involvement of the entire 157-member documentary branch, the academy’s documentary branch has adopted new rules for the 2013 ceremony.
But the change, which would come into effect for the 2013 Oscars, is raising concerns among some filmmakers, including members of the academy’s own documentary branch, that the new rule will favor wealthier documentary makers who have professional publicists over the vast majority of colleagues who typically struggle to finance their films, let alone publicize them.
Here a list of filmmaker quotes:
A New York Times or LA Times review does not make a lot of sense to me, because the academy already requires a one-week run in a theater… …Now in addition to running ads we have to hire publicists and get guaranteed a review.
Joe Berlinger, whose most recent film, “Paradise Lost 3,” has made this year’s shortlist for best feature documentary.
New rules in the Oscar documentary process are not going to make things harder for documentary filmmakers
Michael Moore (TheWrap)
The changes do not address the key problem, which is 99% of the documentaries being made are not released in theaters. So tightening up the rules for theatrical release just highlights the issue all the more… I would prefer to see the academy figure out a way to get rid of the theatrical requirement and recognize that the distinction between theatrical and non-theatrical for documentaries is a phony one and makes no sense in the modern world of documentary production.
Lawrence Hott, a two-time Oscar nominee, said in an email to L.A. Times