It was a big night in February when ESPN’s 30 for 30 unit won an Academy Award for Best Documntary Feature for its “O.J.: Made in America” series. It gave the Worldwide Leader its very first Oscar.

The five-part miniseries aired on ESPN last year, but before it made it to television, it was screened in movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York to make it eligible for Oscar consideration. However, a new rule announced by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will make future multi-part docs ineligible for the Oscars.

The new rule issued by the Motion Picture Academy reads as follows:

“In the Documentary categories, multi-part or limited series are not eligible for awards consideration. The Documentary Branch Executive Committee will resolve all questions of eligibility and rules.”

The nomination for O.J.: Made in America had caused some consternation among other documentary producers that the 467-minute documentary should have been treated as a TV series rather than one long movie.

In the run-up to the Oscar nomination, O.J.: Made in America was screened at several film festivals and was treated as a film. Should a producer of a similar multi-part documentary take that route, it could appeal to the Academy’s documentary branch executive committee that it deserves consideration.

But overall, it appears the Academy has shut a loophole for multi-part documentaries to even be considered for a Best Docuentary Feature or Best Short Documentary nod.

However, for O.J.: Made in America director Ezra Edelman, no one can take his 2017 Oscar away and he can still bask in the glow of being awarded ESPN’s first Oscar.

[Hollywood Reporter]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.