Oscars: Academy Sets New Campaign Rules And Regulations In Wake Of Andrea Riseborough Controversy; Social Media, Screenings Affected

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday revealed its updated rules and regulations for the 96th annual Academy Awards. Among the changes are clarifications regarding campaigns, an issue that took on greater significance last season with the Andrea Riseborough campaign that netted her a Best Actress nomination.

Going forward, AMPAS rules now officially recognize private events and gatherings of members (such as the ones individual Actors Branch members had in showing Riseborough’s movie, To Leslie, to other friends who happened to be Oscar voters). However, they do not recognize them as official FYC events, so companies are forbidden from funding, organizing or endorsing them.

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The Academy has also clarified rules about the use of social media, another method of the grassroots Riseborough campaign that drew controversy. From now on, members can use social media but not for discussing voting preferences, decisions, strategies, or eligibility requirements (including the new inclusion standards designed to promote diversity in hiring).

The Riseborough campaign, forged heavily on social media directly to members for a little-seen film, resulted in a nomination for the star. But the main thing the Academy seems to be putting the brakes on are posts such as an Instagram from Frances Fisher urging members to see the film and not worry about voting for her since other actresses (she mentioned four) were “locks.” That kind of thing is now in the books as clearly crossing the line, no matter the good intentions Fisher had to simply bring attention to a performance she thought was worthy of being seen.

Read the full list of AMPAS’ new campaign regulations here.

Other changes made today include expanding on violations and penalties including the review process for motion picture companies and individuals regarding conduct, as well as establishing a process for reporting concerns.

Read the full list of rules here.

The Academy is also limiting the number of “hosted” (usually by a star or filmmaker) screenings to a maximum of four in phase one and eliminating them entirely after nominations. On the other hand, the group haa increased the ability to have any number of Q&As and panel discussions by allowing an unlimited number throughout the season.

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Additionally, AMPAS has doubled down on the use exclusively of digital communications, essentially outlawing any snail mail or use of paper invitations or other screening schedules, etc. As in the past, the digital communications will be coordinated through the Academy.

Companies can now freely refer in ads to if a film has been “shortlisted” after the shortlists come out, something previously not allowed in FYC ads or mailings.

Additionally, AMPAS has emphasized severe restrictions on the kind of campaign activity allowed for governors, basically saying they have to remain neutral publicly.

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