Oscars Rule Change — More Composers Can Win ‘Best Original Score’

new oscars rule for best original score
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new oscars rule for best original score
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Photo Credit: Arindam Mahanta

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced several rule changes approved for the 97th Oscars. One of these changes impacts the ‘Best Original Score’ category.

Now in the Music (Original Score) category, three composers will be allowed to receive individual statuettes if they all contributed fully to the score. Previously, three composers were required to submit as a group. These rules now clarify the definition of a group as a recognized band. Also changing is the shortlist category increasing from 15 titles to 20 titles.

The change is a welcome one for composers who collaborate on a score. The previous rule stated, “a second statuette may be awarded when two credited composers function as equal collaborators, each contributing fully to the original dramatic underscore for the film.” With the new rule change, that will increase to three composers.

“The music branch executive committee has the right, in what it alone determines to be a very rare and extraordinary circumstance, to award a third statuette to three individuals who functioned as equal collaborators in the creation of the original score and do not work together as a recognized band or group.”

The new rules would have allowed Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste to each have an individual Oscar statuette for their ‘Best Original Score’ win for the Soul score. Rules at the time meant that win was only awarded one statuette—which Reznor and Ross allowed Batiste to take home as his first Oscar win.

“In cases where three or more credited composers function as equal collaborators in a recognized band, a single statuette may be awarded to the group. Each credit composer in the band must agree to the single ‘group statuette’ option by signing and returning a ‘group award form’ prior to the submission deadline.”

Also changing is the shortlist for ‘Best Original Score’ will increase to 20 titles, though the shortlist for ‘Best Original Song’ will remain at 15 titles. The submission deadline for Original Score and Original Song categories is November 1, 2024.