Well, well. Here's some welcome news. After this year's much balleyhooed disaster with the Best Foreign Film Oscar noms -- recap: lauded Romanian Cannes winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days somehow didn't even make it onto the Oscar shortlist -- The Envelope's Mark Olsen reports that a rule change has been voted in for next year's event. Now, I don't like to get too worked up about the Oscars -- it's such an insidery, backpatting schmoozefest of the "You're great!" "No, you're great!" variety -- but last year's foreign noms really pissed me off.

I wasn't as enarmored of 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days as many of my fellow critics were, but even so, it's a masterful, tensely drawn piece of filmmaking, it won the Palme d'or and gave critics worldwide a collective cinematic orgasm, and it damn sure deserved not just to be shortlisted, but to make the final cut of nominees. That it wasn't nominated was a travesty, and confirmed the ongoing suspicion of many in the film community that many of the people in the Academy who are charged with making decisions around foreign film noms are a pack of drooling idiots.


The rule change puts three of the nine foreign shortlist slots in the hands of the 20-member Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee; the other six slots will still be determined by the "Phase 1 Committee" - which is made of of any member who views the required minimum number of eligible foreign films. The Foreign Language committee gets to make its picks after the Phase 1 committee, presumably to prevent such disasters as the 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days controversy from giving the Academy further black eyes.

In other happy news from the Academy front, they've finally decided to change the rules for Best Song such that only two songs from any given film can end up with nominations. A film can still have as many songs as it wants considered, but no more than two will get a shot at the naked gold man. This change follows two years in a row that saw one film garner three nods in the category -- Enchanted this year, and Dreamgirls last (and of course Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King got three noms each as well).

I think this is a good change as well ... a lot of good songs from other films got shut out of the running thanks to Enchanted's three nominations last year (not that they weren't good songs, but did we really need three from that film? I think not). It's nice to see the Academy being responsive to feedback that folks weren't happy, and making positive changes to fix the things that were broken. Now, if only we could turn the clock back a year and give 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days the nomination it deserved ...