Oscars: Academy announces new rules on campaigns
In an effort to rein in what many in Hollywood felt was excessive Oscar campaigning last winter, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Wednesday issued a new set of rules limiting how studios and filmmakers can tout their movies to voters this season.
Prior to Jan. 24, when the nominations are to be announced, there are no restrictions on screening events. However, following the nominations, academy members may be invited to screenings with filmmaker participation -- but no receptions with food and beverages are allowed. The academy says it is not restricting the total number of screenings for a particular movie, but under the new rules, no one from a film can participate in more than two panel discussions.
Also, the academy is restricting non-screening events for members after nominations are announced. The new rules state that following nominations, no members may attend any non-screening event that promotes or honors a movie or a specific nominee. Also, nominees will not be allowed to attend such events, though academy-sanctioned events and guild award ceremonies are exempt.
In the last award season, quite a few dinner receptions were held for various nominees, a new form of campaigning that many found egregious and saw as giving an advantage to bigger studio films that had deeper pockets financing their campaigns.
In explaining the new limits, academy President Tom Sherak said, "These campaign regulations play an important role in protecting the integrity of the Academy Awards process and the distinction of the Oscar."
The academy is also trying to update its rules to accommodate new technology. The organization has had a standing ban on negative campaigning, but now explicitly says the ban is extended to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Should any member violate the negative campaigning ban, the member will be subject to a one-year suspension.
The academy says it would prefer that members see films in a theatrical setting, but it is still allowing DVD screeners in addition to the digital distribution of movies, which was first tried last year by several studios.
-- Nicole Sperling
Oscar statuettes backstage at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 27, 2011. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times