Here’s How a Film Qualifies for the Best Picture Oscar

The Academy Award for Best Picture has been presented since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. The award, given to the film that stands out as the absolute best cinematic achievement of the year, is considered to be the most prestigious award a film can win. However, out of the hundreds of films that hit the theatres each year, not more than a dozen get nominated for this award. Getting selected for this award is not a game of chance played in Omnia Online Casino. In fact, they’re selected using preset criteria. So what are the criteria for nomination? This article covers everything you need to know.

The Official Criteria

The Academy has several rules in place to ensure that the films that qualify for the award were properly exhibited in a movie theatre. It’s to make sure they didn’t premiere on another platform or weren’t shown in dark and empty theatres during off-hours.

Thus, every feature-length film must adhere to these rules if it’s to qualify for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The rules specify that the film:

  • Must have a running length of more than 40 minutes.

  • Have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format.

  • Must open in a commercial theatre, for paid admission, in Los Angeles County between January 1 and midnight December 31, and run for seven consecutive days, at least three screenings daily (one of which needs to be between 6 PM and 10 PM).

  • Be sufficiently advertised in Los Angeles media.

  • Films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category.

  • Official screen credit forms and copies of the main and end title credits must have been submitted to the Academy by December 1.

The Traditions

Apart from these hard and fast rules set by the Academy, there are some unofficial rules that are more like traditions. These are based on patterns of nominations in the past. For example, no documentary has been nominated for Best Picture to date. We can be sure that a documentary won’t appear in Best Picture nominations as there is a separate well-contested category called Best Documentary Academy Award.

Also, it’s fairly rare for animated films, sequels, foreign films, and remakes to get nominated even though they aren’t exactly ineligible for the award. In fact, two sequels – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Godfather Part II – have actually won.

Poring over the records of previous nominations, we can also see some genres picked much more frequently than others. For example, dramas and musicals constitute a majority of nominees and winners since the 1970s. You’ll rarely see a comedy, fantasy, science fiction, action, or superhero films get nominated for the Best Picture award.


There are roughly 5800 members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and all of them vote to nominate movies for Best Picture once Oscar nomination has begun. The member count has grown from just 26 in 1927 (the year the Academy was founded) to approximately 5800 today, but the list of members is kept a secret. In fact, people can join the member’s list by invitation only.

The membership is divided into 17 different branches like Costume Designers, Film Directors, Casting Directors, Producers, and Film Editors. For all other categories, members of individual branches select their own nominees, but for Best Picture, every member can cast their vote.

At the end of the voting process, the votes are counted and the nominations are announced. While the academy nominated five films a year from 1944 to 2009 for the Best Picture category, the number of nominations was increased to ten. The rule on the number of nominations was changed again in 2011 when the Academy announced that five to films would be nominated per year, though a film had to receive a minimum of 5% of the first-place rankings to secure a nomination. Since then, we’ve been seeing an average of eight to nine in the Best Picture category every year.

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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