To be eligible for consideration in the 84th Academy Awards, the documentaries must complete a seven-day commercial run in a theatre in either Los Angeles County or in the Borough of Manhattan in New York from Jan 1-Dec 31 2011.
All paperwork must be completed and received by the Academy no later than 30 days after the end of the qualifying run. For films completing their qualifying run after Aug 1 all paperwork, including legal contracts, must be completed and received by the Academy by 5 pm PT on Sept 1.
Each completed entry form must be accompanied by supporting materials, including an English-language synopsis of the film, a list of film credits, filmographies of the director(s) and producer(s) where applicable, 30 DVD copies of the film, and proof of seven-day qualifying exhibitions.
Further details can be found here.