Nothing major occurred (yes, they are still sticking to their convoluted Best Picture rules) with yesterday's announcement of the rules changes for the 85th Academy Awards. The biggest news is that hairstylists will finally be given credit in the Makeup category, which will be renamed Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This is what the British Academy of Film & Television Arts have been doing for years as well as a number of other organizations, so it's about time the Academy caught up. Some past winners have won largely because of the hairstyling work, so it's only fair to give them credit (hairstylists have been members of the branch for some time as well, so even it's even better to see them get their due). In addition, all branch members who've seen the seven shortlist selections will be sent a ballot to select their top three choices.
The other rule changes were mostly technical. For instance, in the Best Original Song category, the prior rule was that two songwriters could be nominated or, in extreme and evident circumstances, a third could be listed. Now, they've expanded that optional "rare and extraordinary circumstances" rule to four potential nominees.
The Visual Effects Bake-Off will now be a set ten films long. Until this year, the Academy could select seven to ten films for the semi-final list from which the five Oscar nominees were eventually selected and while they mostly stuck with the high end, they now have no other option but ten.
And finally, at least as far as the Academy's press release, the only other significant rules change was in the Foreign Language Film category. The change eliminates the requirement that films be exhibited in 35mm or DCP in their home countries. They still have to be submitted to the Academy that way, but this enables smaller countries whose theater systems don't have sophisticated 35mm or DCP technology to still submit their best film for consideration.
And that's all. Nothing earth shattering, but also nothing to alleviate the many concerns that have been raised over the last couple of years regarding Best Picture nominations or even new potential categories (like Best Stunts).