OFCS Awards Rules

2018 OFCS Awards Rules (Approved: Aug. 5, 2018)

Rule One: Awards Definitions

  1. The Online Film Critics Society’s annual awards are given honoring outstanding achievements in theatrically released feature-length motion pictures and to honor other achievements as provided for in these rules.
  2. Nominations and awards will be conferred in each of the following categories:
    • Best Picture
    • Best Animated Feature
    • Best Director
    • Best Lead Actor
    • Best Lead Actress
    • Best Supporting Actor
    • Best Supporting Actress
    • Best Original Screenplay
    • Best Adapted Screenplay
    • Best Editing
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best Original Score
    • Best Debut Feature
    • Best Film Not in the English Language
    • Best Documentary
  3. Special Award is a broad category of achievement that includes any award or recognition that does not adhere to the other rules of this document.

Rule Two: Eligibility

  1. Feature-length films are defined as being over 40 minutes in length.
  2. Films must be publicly exhibited for a minimum of seven days in a theater within the New York City or Los Angeles areas during the eligibility period.
  3. The required Los Angeles or New York City qualifying run must begin between January 1, 2018, and midnight of December 31, 2018.
  4. Films must be shown theatrically prior to or on the same date as the film is released on broadcast or cable television, direct-to-video, streaming, or through other non-theatrical media.
  5. Films released theatrically in the United States outside of the Los Angeles or New York City areas after January 1, 2017 will be eligible if they complete their Los Angeles or New York City qualifying runs within the eligibility period.
  6. Each picture may have only one Los Angeles or New York City qualifying run. The earliest theatrical exhibition that meets such definition shall be designated the picture’s qualifying run.
  7. Awards recipients must be those credited onscreen or through special exemption from the Online Film Critics Society. The OFCS reserves the right to select which names will and will not receive nominations and/or awards.
  8. All films, regardless of country of origin, are eligible for awards consideration if they meet all other rules listed in this document.

Rule Three: Voting Timetable

  1. Balloting will follow the prescribed format and timeframe.
  2. The balloting timeline for awards honoring the best film achievements of 2015 is as follows.
    • Final Screening Deadline: December 21, 2018
    • Phase One: December 10, 2018 through December 22, 2018
    • Nominations Announced: December 26, 2018
    • Phase Two: December 26, 2018 through December 29, 2018
    • Winners Announced: January 2, 2018
  3. Phase One: Each member of the OFCS will submit a ballot of not more than 5 films in Best Picture and 3 achievements in each of the other categories. These ballots will be ranked in order of preference assigning the highest rank to the voter’s top choice and the lowest rank to their bottom choice. Voting in this phase is mandatory. See Rule Four for specifics on tabulation.
  4. Phase Two: After nominations have been announced, a list of nominees will be sent to the OFCS membership. Each member will rank the nominees in order of preference assigning the highest number to their top choice and the lowest number to their least choice. Voting in this phase is mandatory. See Rule Four for specifics on tabulation.

Rule Four: Balloting & Tabulation

  1. Voting on all achievements shall be restricted to active OFCS members.
  2. Voting will be conducted via e-mail and other tools necessary to accurately track votes.
  3. See Rule Six for the maximum number of nominations in each category.
  4. Each film on Phase One and Phase Two ballots will be ranked in order of preference with points equal to the category’s maximum number of entries and decreasing by one for each successive entry on the ballot (for specifics, see the table below).
  5. For a film to be nominated in any category except Best Non-U.S. Release, it must receive at least three (3) first-place votes during Phase One balloting.
  6. Nominations and winners will be determined based on the total number of points assigned by all members.
  7. Special Awards will be voted on based on specific guidelines and timetables prescribed in Rule Six.
10 Positions 5 Positions
  • 1st Place – 10 Points
  • 2nd Place – 9 Points
  • 3rd Place – 8 Points
  • 4th Place – 7 Points
  • 5th Place – 6 Points
  • 6th Place – 5 Points
  • 7th Place – 4 Points
  • 8th Place – 3 Points
  • 9th Place – 2 Points
  • 10th Place – 1 Point
  • 1st Place – 5 Points
  • 2nd Place – 4 Points
  • 3rd Place – 3 Points
  • 4th Place – 2 Points
  • 5th Place – 1 Point

Rule Five: Individual Category Rules

Best Picture

  • Number of Nominees: 10
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category.

Best Animated Feature

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: At least 75% of all characters in the film must be animated and animation must figure in to at least 75% of the film’s running time.

Best Director

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category.

Best Lead Actor

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category. Whether a performance is lead or supporting is determined by the voting member. Studios, celebrities or publicists may not dictate the placement of an actor in one category or the other.

Best Lead Actress

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category. Whether a performance is lead or supporting is determined by the voting member. Studios, celebrities or publicists may not dictate the placement of an actor in one category or the other.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category. Whether a performance is lead or supporting is determined by the voting member. Studios, celebrities or publicists may not dictate the placement of an actor in one category or the other.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category. Whether a performance is lead or supporting is determined by the voting member. Studios, celebrities or publicists may not dictate the placement of an actor in one category or the other.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category. Only screenplays written directly for the screen and not based on characters or stories previously produced or published are eligible for this award.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category. Only films based on material previously published or produced are eligible for this award. News articles are acceptable if a single article or story does not account for more than 35% of the film’s source material.

Best Editing

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category.

Best Cinematography

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category.

Best Original Score

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: All features eligible for awards are eligible for this category.

Best Debut Feature

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: For a director and/or writer to be eligible for this award, the film in question must be the individual’s first feature-length theatrical release. All other eligibility rules apply.

Best Film Not in the English Language

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: 75% of all dialogue in a film must be of a language other than English to qualify for this award.

Best Documentary

  • Number of Nominees: 5
  • Eligibility: Only films which document actual events or situations through use of filmed interviews or archived footage and with limited event reenactments are eligible for this award. Fictionalized or narrative documents are not eligible. Only individual documentary works are eligible. This excludes from consideration: multi-part or limited series, episodes extracted from a larger series, segments taken from a single “composite” program, and alternate versions of ineligible works.

Rule Six: Rules for Special Awards

Special Awards are broken into four categories:

  • Technical Achievement Awards
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards
  • Special Achievement Awards
  • Best Non-U.S. Releases
  • Best Non-Theatrical Release

These special awards are handed out in conjunction with the annual awards but are handled under special rules documented in this section.

Special Awards Committee. Each year, the Governing Committee shall call for volunteers to sit on a committee that will manage the execution of all Special Awards except the Technical Achievement Award. The committee will convene twice during the year.

  1. The Governing Committee will call for volunteers for the Special Awards committee on July 1 of each year.
  2. The committee shall convene no later than August 1 of each year.
  3. On August 15, the committee shall submit to the membership a request for submissions for the Lifetime Achievement and Special Achievement Awards.
  4. Members may submit as many suggestions as they see fit. These suggestions must meet the rules laid out under Rule Six, Sections 5 and 6. These submissions will be due by August 31.
  5. On September 1, the committee shall reconvene to consider the submissions, verify they meet the necessary requirements, and then narrow the list further to a manageable number. The committee shall select a maximum number of achievements out of all submissions based on the rules set out for them.
  6. On October 1, the committee will call for votes on the final list of submissions, selecting only as many achievements as prescribed in these rules. These votes are non-mandatory and will be due no later than October 15.
  7. The winners will be presented to the Governing Committee, who will announce them alongside the annual awards in December.
  8. On January 1 of the following year, the committee will reconvene and submit to the membership a request for submissions for the Best Non-U.S. Release and Best Non-Theatrical Release categories.
  9. Members may submit up to ten films for consideration in each category. These submissions must meet the necessary requirements laid out under Rule Six, Sections 3 and 4. These submissions will be due by January 15.
  10. On January 16, the committee shall reconvene to consider the submissions, verify they meet the necessary requirements, and then narrow the list further to a management number. The committee shall select a maximum number of achievements out of all submissions based on the rules set out for them.
  11. On February 1, the committee will call for votes on the final list of submissions, selecting only as many achievements as prescribed in these rules. These votes are non-mandatory and will be due no later than February 15.
  12. The winners will be presented to the Governing Committee, who will announce the selections no later than March 1.
  13. This committee and its membership may not be altered except under extreme circumstances prior to the new committee being selected in August of the year following its formation.

Technical Achievement Awards. These awards are presented to individual technical achievements for a single film that are not otherwise honored by awards, this can include production design, costume design, makeup, sound design, visual effects, original score, original song, stunt coordination, or any other similar achievement.

  1. During the Nominations Voting Period, members may submit up to three individual technical achievements for consideration. These will include only the nature of the achievement (production design, costume design, etc.) and the film being nominated. Individuals should not be included.
  2. During the Awards Voting Period, a list of all recommendations will be presented and each member will be asked to select no more than five individual achievements. These will be ranked in order of preference assigning points as prescribed in the table in Rule Four, Section 7.
  3. The five achievements receiving the highest number of points will be announced as winners. In case of a tie, there may be no more than seven and no fewer than three achievements selected. If there should still be a tie, the achievement or achievements with the most individual list placements will be selected.
  4. Participation in voting for this category is mandatory.

Lifetime Achievement Awards. These special achievement awards are adjudicated by the Special Awards Committee, which shall be convened as laid out under Rule Six, Section 1.

  1. This award is limited to individuals who have excelled in their craft and will not be rewarded for an individual film.
  2. No more than more than five and no fewer than two Lifetime Achievement Awards may be given in any year.
  3. Each achievement presented must represent a different field (i.e. no more than one actor, or director, or editor). If an individual has excelled in multiple fields, the Special Awards Committee shall decide which field best applies to the individual for representation purposes.
  4. Posthumous awards may not be given. This rule does not apply to an individual already selected at the time of their death.
  5. Individuals to be considered for this award should have a distinguished career in the industry lasting no fewer than thirty years.
  6. Each member may submit a single individual for consideration for a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  7. The committee will narrow the list of contenders down to twenty. This list will be presented to the membership. Each member may select up to five individuals from the list. These will be ranked in order of preference assigning points as prescribed in the table in Rule Four, Section 7.
  8. The individuals receiving the highest number of points (limit of one per field) will be selected as the recipients. In case of a tie, there may be no more than five and no fewer than two individuals selected. If there should still be a tie, the individual or individuals with the most individual list placements will be selected.
  9. Participation in voting for this category is not mandatory.

Special Achievement Awards. These special achievement awards are adjudicated by the Special Awards Committee, which shall be convened as laid out under Rule Six, Section 1.

  1. This award is limited to achievements not otherwise recognized by awards given out according to other rules in this document.
  2. No more than five Special Achievement Awards may be given in any year.
  3. Each member may submit a single achievement for consideration for a Special Achievement Award.
  4. The committee will narrow the list of contenders down to twenty. This list will be presented to the membership. Each member may select up to three achievements from the list. These will be ranked in order of preference assigning points as prescribed in the Table in Rule Four, Section 7.
  5. To be honored with a Special Achievement Award, the achievement must be selected by at least 25% of the members voting in the category.
  6. If more than three achievements are eligible to be recognized, the three with the highest number of votes will be selected. In case of a tie, there may be no more than five achievements honored. If no achievement receives 25% or more of the vote, then no award is given.
  7. Participation in voting for this category is not mandatory.

Best Non-U.S. Releases. This special achievement category is adjudicated by the Special Awards Committee, which shall be convened as laid out under Rule Six, Section 1.

  1. This award is limited to films released outside of the United States in a theatrical venue (not including film festivals) during the standard eligibility period that have not been released within the United States during the eligibility period. The award is designed to recognize films that have not secured U.S. theatrical distribution in an effort to encourage studios to bring these titles to the United States.
  2. This category will consist of ten achievements. This category is not presented an award and no winner will be selected.
  3. No more than three titles from a single country will be eligible for consideration in this category.
  4. Films submitted for this category should be of high quality and well regarded in their countries of origin. The committee may use whatever means necessary to authenticate the film’s merits. If a film is submitted by more than one member, it is considered to have met this requirement.
  5. If there are fewer than fifteen submissions made in this category, the Special Awards Committee will determine whether or not to present this category during the given year.
  6. A list of submissions will be made available to all members. Each member may select up to ten films from the submitted list. These will be ranked in order of preference assigning points as prescribed in the table in Rule Four, Section 7.
  7. The ten titles receiving the highest number of points will be the selections. In case of a tie, the title or titles with the most individual list placements will be selected.
  8. Participation in voting for this category is not mandatory.

Best Non-Theatrical Release. This special achievement category is adjudicated by the Special Awards Committee, which shall be convened as laid out under Rule Six, Section 1.

  1. This award is limited to films released within the United States, but not in a theatrical venue during the standard eligibility period. This will be limited to streaming services. Limited series are not eligible for consideration.
  2. This category will consist of at least five, but no more than ten achievements. This category is not presented an award and no winner will be selected.
  3. Films submitted for this category should be of high quality and well regarded. The committee may use whatever means necessary to authenticate the film’s merits. If a film is submitted by more than one member, it is considered to have met this requirement.
  4. If there are fewer than fifteen submissions made in this category, the Special Awards Committee will determine whether or not to present this category during the given year.
  5. A list of submissions will be made available to all members. Each member may select up to five films from the submitted list. These will be ranked in order of preference assigning points as prescribed in the table in Rule Four, Section 7.
  6. The titles receiving the highest number of points will be the selections. In case of a tie, there may be no more than ten and no fewer than five achievements selected. If there should still be a tie, the title or titles with the most individual list placements will be selected.
  7. Participation in voting for this category is not mandatory.