By Lynette Rice
Updated May 20, 2010 at 04:52 PM EDT

Image Credit: Mario Perez/ABCThe Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors on Wednesday made a rule exception that will have a direct impact on the May 23 finale of Lost. Past rules have indicated that extended length episodes can only run for two hours but Lost’s finale is scheduled for two and a half hours. The board will now grant eligibility to the drama’s series finale episode.

Similar exceptions have been made in the past for the series finales of The Wire and The Sopranos. “We have a soft spot in our hearts for the final episodes of long-running series,” says John Leverence, the TV Academy’s senior vice president of awards.

The Lost finale can be submitted for consideration under any number of scenarios. A Lost star may use it to compete in one of the acting categories, while ABC Studios may use it to go after the best drama prize.