The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a rule change allowing a best picture Oscar winner to have more than three producers in rare circumstances.
Academy President Sid Ganis said the change was among a handful of refinements in the rules approved Tuesday for the 80th Academy Awards.
The Academy imposed a rule in 2000 that limited each nominated film to three credited producers who could claim statuettes. That led to bickering and lawsuits from people who felt they were denied Oscars for pictures that won.
Bob Yari sued the Academy and the Producers Guild claiming he wrongly lost out on a producer credit for "Crash," which won best picture in 2006. The Academy also denied Brad Grey, now chairman of Paramount Pictures, and Brad Pitt producing Oscars for this year's best picture, "The Departed."
The rules still say that "three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions" will be considered eligible nominees, but now a provision allows the Producers Branch Executive Committee to "name any additional qualified producer" in "what it determines to be a rare and extraordinary circumstance."
"It's very important to have a limit on the number of producers who can be nominated and potentially receive an Oscar statuette," Ganis said. "But we also recognize that a truly unique situation could arise, and we want to have just enough flexibility to allow for that rare occurrence."
Another change involves defining an animated feature film as one that is at least 70 minutes long and uses a frame-by-frame technique to create characters' movements.