Academy Sets New Oscar Campaign Rules After Controversies Involving Andrea Riseborough, Tom Cruise and Michelle Yeoh
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday its “most significant overhaul” of the campaign promotional regulation and awards rules for the upcoming 96th Oscars.
The updated rules and regulations clarify questions surrounding social media, communications in public forums including the expansion on violations and penalties, and the review process for individuals directly associated with a film or member conduct.
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The substantive updates and changes are noted below:
Clarification of rules regarding private events and gatherings.
Clarification of rules regarding general and direct communications to Academy members.
Clarification of rules regarding public communications, including on social media.
Clarification of rules for “For Your Consideration” screenings, Q&A sessions and panel discussions.
Expanded language on regulation violations and penalties, including the process for reporting and reviewing a violation.
Some of the most notable changes include allowing private events and gatherings that have members, which the Academy does “not consider” FYC events. However, motion picture studios and companies are prohibited from funding, organizing, or endorsing such events.
Social media rules regarding referencing other competitors remain intact. Still, the Academy also put the kibosh on members or campaign teams talking about voting decisions or strategies, or referencing a motion picture meeting or not meeting the Oscars eligibility requirements, including the Inclusion Standards or theatrical distribution thresholds. In 2020, the Academy announced new diversity and inclusion requirements for best picture submission. As part of its Aperture 2025 initiative, the rules are now in effect for movies released in the 2023 calendar year that are being submitted for the Oscars top category. In addition, communications may not quotes or comments by Academy Governors not directly associated with the motion picture.
All this comes in the wake of a “messy” season that included but was not limited to “Top Gun: Maverick,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer opening his Beverly Hills home to power player and former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing, who threw a cocktail party for star Tom Cruise, not to mention the Andrea Riseborough nomination controversy that was bookended with Academy President Janet Yang tweeting a presumed endorsement of eventual actress winner Michelle Yeoh from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” who herself stepped into the spotlight when she shared an article on Instagram.
In January, the Academy began “conducting a review of campaign procedures” after Riseborough’s surprising best actress nom for “To Leslie” was called into question by awards strategists and studio executives. It was reported that Riseborough’s talent agents, public relations teams and filmmakers tied to the movie were using aggressive campaign tactics to secure a nomination. The most notable was on Instagram by AMPAS members such as “Titanic” actress Frances Fisher, who referenced other presumed “locked” nominees such as Cate Blanchett from “Tár.” This was interpreted by some industry voters and members as a potential violation of the Academy’s campaign rules, specifically No. 11: “References to Other Nominees.”
Despite the discussion, Riseborough retained her nomination, with Academy CEO Bill Kramer stating at the time the organization “did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”
Other updates include limiting the number of “hosted” screenings pre-nominations to a maximum of four and the elimination of “hosted” screenings post-nominations entirely. The Academy also removed the limitation of four Q&As post-nominations, now unlimited in the window.
Physical forms of outreach, including postcards and screening schedules, are not allowed, which goes with the ongoing commitment to sustainability.
The Board of Governors are barred from hosting private events, gatherings, screenings or moderating any Q&A or panel discussion unless they are directly associated with the motion picture itself.
Motion picture companies can now reference their film as “shortlisted” after the announcement of the shortlist categories. Again, this was not previously allowed in FYC mailings.
Other awards rules changes include:
The International Feature Film category rules now stipulate that selection committees must comprise at least 50% filmmakers (artists and/or craftspeople).
In the Live Action Short Film category, voting privileges will be extended to all Academy members who opt in to participate.
Submission deadlines and additional key dates are as follows:
Tuesday, August 15, 2023: First submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Feature Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories
Friday, September 15, 2023: First submission deadline for Animated Feature Film and General Entry categories
Monday, October 2, 2023: Final submission deadline for Documentary Feature Film and International Feature Film categories
Monday, October 16, 2023: Final submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories
Wednesday, November 1, 2023: Final submission deadline for Music (Original Score) and Music (Original Song) categories
Wednesday, November 15, 2023: Final submission deadline for Animated Feature Film and General Entry categories
Saturday, January 13, 2024: Visual Effects nominating screening (bake-off)
Sunday, January 14, 2024: Makeup and Hairstyling nominating screening and Sound nominating screening (bake-offs)
The 96th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 10, where some of the year’s most anticipated titles — such as Universal Pictures’ “Oppenheimer” and Apple’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” — are expected to compete.
For the complete 96th Academy Awards rules and campaign promotional regulations, visit oscars.org/rules.
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