The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has adjusted the rules for the best picture Oscar in advance of next year's 80th annual ceremony. Following the controversy of Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa being removed from the nomination list of last year's Little Miss Sunshine, the Academy has now ruled that, while 'three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions' are eligible in the category, there could be exceptions.

'The Producers Branch Executive Committee has recommended and the Board approved that the committee has the right, in what it determines to be a rare and extraordinary circumstance, to name any additional qualified producer as a nominee,' said the Academy statement today.

'The committee and the governors believe strongly that it's very important to have a limit on the number of producers who can be nominated and potentially receive an Oscar statuette,' explained Academy president Sid Ganis in a statement. 'But we also recognize that a truly unique situation could arise, and we want to have just enough flexibility to allow for that rare occurrence.'

Academy president said that the changes to the rules represent 'a small number of refinements but no major shift in course.'

The Academy has also further clarified the qualification requirements of the animated feature film category in light of the emerging technologies now being used in film production. An animated feature is now defined as 'a motion picture of at least 70 minutes in running time, in which movement and characters' performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique. In addition, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no more than 75% of the picture's running time.'

In the art direction category, a change in the rules now allows for the possibility of two production designers or two set decorators receiving nominations for their work on a given film, but not both. In the past, the rule allowed for only one production designer.