14 November 2013 2:13 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Although there’s no “Pardon Our Dust” sign adorning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Wilshire Boulevard headquarters, even the casual observer will have noticed that the Academy has spent the past few years engaged in an extensive and seemingly endless home-improvement project.

And nowhere have Oscar’s renovations been more extensive than in the foreign-language film competition, where both the nominating and voting protocols have been extensively overhauled, with more changes possibly in the offing.

The latest and most significant foreign-language rule change, announced in spring and to be implemented this Oscar cycle, abolishes the longstanding requirement that Academy members have to see all five nominated films in a theatrical setting in order to cast ballots in that category. While that rule theoretically created a level playing field among the nominees (which might include a box office behemoth like “Amelie” alongside the relatively unknown Bosnian import “No »


- Scott Foundas

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