Getty / Variety
On Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the “most significant overhaul” of the campaign promotions and awards rules for the upcoming 96 Academy Awards.
The updated rules and regulations clarify questions about social media, communications in public forums, including an expansion of violations and penalties, and the review process for individuals directly related to a movie or member’s conduct.
Substantial updates and changes are listed below:
- Clarify the rules for special events and gatherings.
- Clarify the rules related to public and direct communications for members of the Academy.
- Clarify the rules regarding public communications, including on social media.
- Clarify the rules for “for consideration” presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and panel discussions.
- Expanded language on violations of regulations and penalties, including a process for reporting and reviewing a violation.
Some notable changes include allowing private events and gatherings involving members, which the Academy “does not consider” FYC events. However, motion picture studios and companies are prohibited from financing, organizing, or endorsing such events.
The social media rules about tagging other competitors remain the same. However, the Academy also puts the kibosh on members or campaign teams talking about voting decisions or strategies, referring to a motion picture meeting or failing to meet Oscar eligibility requirements, including inclusion criteria or theatrical distribution thresholds. In 2020, the Academy announced new requirements for Diversity and Inclusion to present its best profile. As part of the Aperture 2025 initiative, the rules are now in effect for films released in 2023 that are submitted for the Academy Awards’ upper category. In addition, communications, quotes, or comments by Academy referees not directly related to the motion picture may not be accepted.
This all comes on the heels 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 boss Sherry Lansing, throwing a cocktail party for star Tom Cruise, not to mention Controversy surrounding Andrea Riseborough’s nomination was booked with Academy President Janet Yang tweeting a supposed endorsement of eventual winner Michelle Yeoh of “Everything Everywhere at Once,” who herself catapulted herself into the spotlight when she shared an article on Instagram.
In January, the Academy began “conducting a review of campaign procedures” after Riseborough’s Best Actress nomination for To Leslie was called into question by award strategists and studio executives. It was reported that Riseborough’s talent agents, public relations teams, and filmmakers associated with the film were using aggressive campaign tactics to secure the nomination. Most notably on Instagram were AMPAS members like “Titanic” actress Frances Fisher, who referenced other supposed nominees like Cate Blanchett from “Tár.” This was interpreted by some voters and members of the industry as a possible violation of the Academy’s campaign rules, specifically No. 11: “References to other candidates”.
Despite the debate, Riseborough retained its nomination, with Academy CEO Bill Kramer stating at the time that the organization had “discovered social media and awareness campaign tactics that have caused concern. These tactics are being dealt with directly by responsible parties.”
Other updates include limiting the number of “hosted” shows, pre-nominations to a maximum of four, and the cancellation of “hosted” shows after nominations are complete. The Academy has also removed the limitation of four post-nomination questions and answers, which are now unlimited per window.
Physical forms of outreach, including postcards and examination schedules, are not allowed, which is in line with an ongoing commitment to sustainability.
The Board is prohibited from hosting private events, gatherings, screenings, or moderating any Q&A or panel discussion unless directly related to the Motion Picture itself.
Motion picture companies can now refer to their film as a “shortlist” after announcing the shortlist categories. Again, this was not previously allowed in FYC mailings.
Other changes to the award rules include:
- the International Feature Film Category rules now state that selection committees must include at least 50% of filmmakers (artists and/or craftsmen).
- In the Short action movie In class, voting privileges will be extended to all Academy members who choose to participate.
The application deadlines and additional key dates are as follows:
- Tuesday, August 15, 2023: 1st deadline for submissions of Animated Short Films, Feature Documentary Films, Documentary Short Films, and Live Action Short Films
- Friday, September 15, 2023: First deadline for submission of Animated Feature Film and General Entry category
- Monday, October 2, 2023: Deadline for submissions for the Feature Documentary and International Feature Film category
- Monday, October 16, 2023: Deadline for submissions for the categories of Animated Short Film, Short Documentary Film, and Short Non-Fiction Film
- Wednesday, November 1, 2023: Deadline for submissions for the Music (Original Score) and Music (Original Song) categories
- Wednesday, November 15, 2023: Deadline for submissions for Feature Film and General Entry categories
- Saturday, January 13, 2024: Visual Effects Filter Check (Bake – Off)
- Sunday, January 14, 2024: Examination of makeup and hairdressing nominations and examination of voice nominations (baked goods)
The 96th Academy Awards takes place on Sunday, March 10, when some of this year’s most anticipated titles — like Universal Pictures’ “Oppenheimer” and Apple’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” — are expected to compete.
For the full 96th Academy Awards Rules and Campaign Promotional Bylaws, visit oscars.org/rules.