The Academy will announce its shortlists for Oscars contenders in nine categories this week. If you want to better understand what Oscars shortlists are, how they relate to Oscars nominations, and what it means for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards in April — all you have to do is keep scrolling.

What are the Oscars shortlists?

Simply put, the meaning of shortlisted is to simply form a shorter list of names from the entire list of eligible films for 2020 Oscars nominations. Nine categories are included in the Oscars shortlists.

Here's the list of categories:

  1. Documentary (Feature)

  2. Documentary (Short Subject)

  3. Music (Original Score)

  4. Music (Original Song)

  5. International Feature Film

  6. Makeup & Hairstyling

  7. Short Film (Animated)

  8. Short Film (Live Action)

  9. Visual Effects 

Anyone can submit a film for Oscar consideration, provided eligibility requirements are met. Once submissions are in, it’s up to Academy members to narrow down the list.

Related: Every movie eligible for the 93rd Academy Awards

How do films make it?

A category’s shortlist is not the same as its list of nominees, as one more cut will be made to round out the list of nominations. The specific processes vary by category, which we've laid out below to help you better understand how Oscars voting works.

  • Animated Short Film: Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch choose a shortlist of up to 10 films, then vote in a second round to determine the five nominees.

  • Documentary Feature: The 15-film shortlist is determined by members of the Documentary Branch who also vote in a second round to determine the five nominees.

  • Documentary Short Subject: The 10-film shortlist is determined by members of the Documentary Branch who also vote in a second round to determine the five nominees.

  • International Feature: This category operates slightly differently. For starters, there’s an International Feature Film Preliminary Voting Committee, made up of Academy members across branches and co-chaired by director Susanne Bier and writer Larry Karaszewski. Committee members must meet a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote to determine the shortlist of 15 films. Only one submission per country is permitted.

  • Live-Action Short Film: Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch as well as the Directors Branch choose a shortlist of up to 10 films, then vote in a second round to determine the five nominees. NOTE: A short film (as opposed to a feature film) is defined as an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less (including all credits).

  • Makeup & Hairstyling: The 10-film shortlist is determined by members of the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch who also vote in a second round to determine the five nominees. 

  • Original Score and Original Song: The 15-film shortlist for each of these is voted on by members of the Music Branch who also vote in a second round to determine the five nominees in each category. No more than two songs by the same writers from any one film may be shortlisted.

  • Visual Effects: The Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee chooses the 10 films to include on the shortlist. Members of the full Visual Effects Branch are then invited to view 10-minute excerpts of all shortlisted films and determine the five nominees.

The Academy is made up of artists and executives working in the film industry. Each new member must be sponsored by two current members from the branch they’re hoping to join. These candidates are reviewed by branch committees, but the final invitations are decided by the Academy’s Board of Governors. Academy Award nominees are automatically considered for membership and do not require sponsors, and there’s a new class of Academy members invited to join each spring.

Academy members will vote to determine the nominees in all 23 categories beginning in early March, and nominations will be announced on Monday, March 15th.


What movies are you most excited to watch this awards season? Take a look through the shortlists and let us know by tagging us at @TheAcademy on social media. And don't forget...the 93rd Oscars will be televised live on ABC on Sunday, April 25th.