Oscar organizers crack down on movie campaigns

Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:05pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar organizers on Wednesday unveiled a tough new set of rules that cracks down on the types of events Academy Award voters can attend before making their picks for the world's top film awards.

The new rules are meant to help create a more level playing field for nominated movies, actors and actresses by curbing the wining and dining that takes place for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ahead of the awards.

"These campaign regulations play an important role in protecting the integrity of the Academy Awards process and the distinction of the Oscar," Academy president Tom Sherak said in a statement.

The key change is that after nominations are announced on January 24, Academy members can only attend screenings of movies, but not a party or event if there is no screening.

That means many dinners and gatherings where performers, producers and others are on hand to chat with Academy members and drum up support are now off limits. In the past, those events have been key to promoters looking for votes.

After the nominations are announced, Academy members can still attend screenings and cast and crew members can be on hand for question-and-answer sessions, but there can be no accompanying reception with food and drinks.

Additionally, there are no restrictions on the total number of screenings of a particular movie, but no person from the film can participate in more than two panel discussions.

Prior to the nominations there are no restrictions, and events can include food and drinks.

In recent years, Oscar campaigns have increasingly become important to cut through the clutter of numerous movies competing for awards because with those honors there is prestige that can boost ticket sales and DVD revenues.   Continued...