What’s Behind the New Animation Oscar Rule Change? Easier Crossover Qualification

As part of the 2025 Oscar rule changes for the 97th Academy Awards (to be held on March 2, 2025), animated movies can be simultaneously submitted for Best International Feature and Best Animated Feature. This will simplify the qualifying method for the latter and specifically help animated international films that may not have access to U.S. distribution.

“Previously, animated movies selected as a country’s international feature selection [which do not require U.S. theatrical distribution] were not qualified to enter for animated feature consideration unless they also met the qualifying standards for general entry [which require U.S. theatrical distribution],” an Academy insider told IndieWire.

More from IndieWire

“This consisted of separate submission forms. Submitters will still need to complete different forms, but now animated movies selected as a country’s international feature selection no longer need to meet general entry standards to be considered for the Animated Feature award. They would, however, still need to be ruled eligible under the Academy’s definition of ‘animation.'”

Two examples of animated international feature submissions from 2023 not entered for animated feature were “Four Souls of Coyote,” from Hungary, and “The Missing,” from the Philippines.

This rule change aligns with the same qualifying method pertaining to animated documentaries competing for documentary features and animated features. In fact, Neon’s animated doc “Flee” made Oscar history in 2021 as the first film to be nominated for international feature, documentary feature, and animated feature.

Other international animated crossovers include “Persepolis,” the French adult biopic entry in 2007, which was also nominated for animated feature; “Waltz with Bashir,” Ari Folman’s influential docudrama, which was nominated for foreign language film in 2008 and was also submitted for animated feature; Makoto Shinkai’s “Weathering with You,” which was Japan’s international feature entry in 2019 as well as an animated feature qualifier; and “The Peasants,” the painted animation historical drama (from the Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent” team), which was Poland’s international feature entry in 2024 along with an animated feature qualifier.

“I consider this similar to when ASIFA-Hollywood added rules qualifying films that won the top prize at major animation film festivals for consideration without needing a local theatrical run,” an animation insider told IndieWire. “They must be trying to help provide an outlet for the better international animated films.”

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.