awards season

The Academy Bumps Best International Feature Shortlist Up to 15, Remove ‘Saves’ From Process

Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

The 2021 Oscars ceremony is just a little over three months away, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more pandemic-related changes to this year’s awards season between now and then. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy recently decided to switch up the selection process for their Best International Feature shortlist due to “concerns about their ability to protect the security of the process,” now that it has to take place online. They are also expanding the shortlist from ten to 15 films.

In a nutshell, the selection process usually entails a volunteer preliminary committee choosing seven movies in person, to which the international film executive committee adds three movies, or “saves,” typically films they feel have been overlooked and deserve a shot at the award. Which films are chosen by which committee is never publicly revealed.

However, according to THR, the Academy has decided that “holding the executive committee’s online deliberations via Zoom or a similar platform would leave them open to leaks or hacks.” Rather than risk having their debate exposed, this year’s process will allow the preliminary committee to virtually choose the entire shortlist, which, again, will have 15 slots instead of ten.

The Best International Feature shortlist, and many of this year’s other Oscars shortlists, will be announced on February 9, with nominees to be announced on March 15.

Oscars Bump Best International Feature Shortlist Up to 15