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Academy Tightens Some Oscar Campaign Rules, Allows More Direct Marketing to Members

Photo of Anne Thompson 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, “these rules help us maintain a level playing field for all of the nominees and protect the integrity of the Awards process.”
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After the announcement of nominations on January 15, 2013, and until the final polls close (February 19, 2013), Academy members may be invited to up to four screenings of a nominated film that are preceded or followed by filmmaker Q&As or other such participation. A fifth such event in the United Kingdom will be permitted.  All participants must be nominated or have been eligible for nomination.  No screening event may include a reception or otherwise offer complimentary food or beverages. These limitations do not apply to screenings held by the Academy, guilds or similar organizations.

The regulations also now stipulate that members may receive the film both on DVD and as a digital download.

Additionally, each week, members may be sent only one piece of mail and one email per film company.  The rules maintain the prohibition on sending members links to websites that promote a film using audio, video, or other multimedia elements, but may include links to the videos in the “Academy Conversations” series on Oscars.org.

The Academy has augmented its existing ban on film companies using third parties to distribute materials that they would be prohibited from sending directly. The regulation now specifies that film companies may not have a publication use its subscriber lists to send stand alone materials to members, except in connection with the distribution of the publication itself.  This amendment does not affect a company’s ability to place their usual promotional materials in trade publications.

Similarly, while guilds and other awards organizations may hold non-screening events after the nominations announcement, this rule now specifies that film companies may not use such occasions as opportunities to sponsor promotional events that would otherwise violate Academy regulations.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Oscars, Awards, Awards


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.