OSCAR: Academy's New Campaigning Rules

HAMMOND: Will Oscars’ New Rules Actually Increase The Campaign Frenzy?

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today issued regulations for how movies and achievements eligible for the 84th Academy Awards may be marketed to Academy members.

The most notable change affects screening events that include filmmaker participation. Additional changes address digital delivery of movies to Academy members and public references to competing films or achievements via social media platforms.

“These campaign regulations play an important role in protecting the integrity of the Academy Awards process and the distinction of the Oscar®,” said Academy President Tom Sherak. “Above all, we want Academy members to see movies as they were meant to be seen, in a theatrical setting.”

Prior to the nominations announcement (January 24, 2012), there are no restrictions on screening events to which Academy members may be invited. These events may include the live participation of individuals involved with the film (Q&A panel discussions, etc.) as well as receptions with food and beverage. After the nominations have been announced, Academy members may continue be invited to screenings that have filmmaker participation elements but receptions are not permitted. While there is no restriction on the total number of screenings of a particular movie, no one individual from the film can participate in more than two panel discussions. Previously, Academy members could not be invited to any screening event that included live participation of the filmmaker(s) or a reception either before or after the nominations had been announced.

Additionally, after nominations are announced and until final polls close, members may not be invited to or attend any non-screening event that promotes or honors a nominated movie or individual nominee. Nominees themselves are also prohibited from attending such events. Academy-sanctioned events and awards ceremonies presented by the various guilds, critics groups and other organizations are exempt.

The regulations now emphasize that viewing motion pictures in a theatrical setting is highly preferred over any other viewing method. The distribution of screeners is still permitted, however, with specific restrictions on packaging and accompanying materials. The digital distribution of movies to Academy members is now acceptable, as long as the delivery method conforms to the regulations. The long-standing ban on negative campaigning about other nominated films or individuals is now extended to social media platforms, and specific penalties are spelled out. Academy members will be subject to a one-year suspension for first-time violations and expulsion for any subsequent violations. As in the past, any form of advertising that includes quotes or comments – negative or positive – by Academy members is prohibited.

To read the complete Regulations Concerning the Promotion of Films Eligible for the 84th Academy Awards, go to: http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/regulations.html. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre.

  1. This is a huge shakeup for the Awards season. Between the months of January and February, nominee calendars are filled with panel after panel, and party after party all in the name of promoting themselves in hopes of getting a nomination. And having gone through the process more than once, I have to say, it is quite exhausting! This will strongly affect so many groups that have organized events around nominee events (and their bottom line). But I trust that Harvey Weinstein will be the first to figure out a loophole to get around these rules.

  2. “Above all, we want Academy members to see movies as they were meant to be seen, in a theatrical setting.” – Tom Sherak

    Define “theatrical setting”, please. Because my home theater is more ‘theatrical’ than the local cineplex. and i can focus on the film and judge it more impartially when i’m not being kicked in my seatback or having to strain to hear the dialogue over chatting teens.

    totally arbitrary.

    1. There are special theatrical screenings set up for academy members. I don’t think these screenings would involve one’s seat “being kicked” or “chatting teens.”

  3. “These campaign regulations play an important role in protecting the integrity of the Academy Awards process and the distinction of the Oscar®,”
    .
    Right.. Because now there’s genuine integrity with an Oscar and not simply a dim-witted popularity contest?
    .
    I literally laughed out loud!

  4. How are they going to enforce these rules? Are they going to have special Academy cops at every award season party next to the bouncers?

  5. As in the past, any form of advertising that includes quotes or comments – negative or positive – by Academy members is prohibited.

    Are there any movie critics in the Academy?

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