By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 25, 2012 at 1:34PM
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences constantly updates the regulations for how distributors, talent and campaigners market movies to Academy voters. According to outgoing Academy President Tom Sherak (who isn't seeking another term and will be replaced by the Governors later this summer) “these rules help us maintain a level playing field for all of the nominees and protect the integrity of the Awards process.”
Already, the Academy has launched a major change, allowing Q & As at their weekend Academy screenings. I attended one for "Men in Black 3" with makeup artist Rick Baker and VFX maestro Ken Ralston, which I enjoyed, but found it odd that the Academy was actively encouraging direct marketing to its members. The Academy pays various journalists such as Cari Beauchamp to conduct the interviews (which they are not supposed to turn into stories), but does not allow for questions from the members. I don't get it.
During the pre-nominations phase of last year's award season, the Academy allowed distributors to invite members to screenings that were introduced by filmmakers and/or cast, who also were able to chat with members over drinks and supper following the movie. Several Academy members have expressed discomfort to me about both of these changes, which are designed to lure increased participation from some 6000 Academy voters--a relatively small number attend the weekend and foreign screenings.
Marketers are adept at skirting these regulations by defining their screenings as involving all the guilds or a DVD release or some such semantic distinction. See the way the regulations are worded below: