This was first made public yesterday, as our parent site, IndieWire, picked up the story.
If you missed it, here's the gist, as reported by the New York Times:
The Academy may move this week to consider only documentaries reviewed by The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times eligible for an Oscar... The change would probably trim the number of features under consideration, which rose more than 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, but... it would also affect DocuWeeks, screenings sponsored by the International Documentary Association: “The new rule puts a squeeze on those who do not have a commercial distributor, and particularly calls into question the viability of DocuWeeks, which has consistently shoehorned films into the Oscar process.”
Soooo... obviously this makes it even more difficult for indies to get the kind of first-class notoriety an Oscar nomination would provide.
Forget reviews from smaller film sites/blogs like ours, what's even more interesting is that the Academy also neglects reviews from prominent industry mags like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. There's also Filmmaker magazine, the main indieWIRE site, and other high-profile, revered film sites and magazines that cater very specifically to the indie filmmaking community.
According to the Academy, part of the goal here is to focus only on those films that receive what they call "genuine theatrical" releases, whatever that means specifically; but really, as already noted, the *small guy* (essentially, the indie) gets shafted here a bit, as the road to glory gets even steeper.
Read the full NY Times piece HERE for the rest of the story.