The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday unveiled its updated rules and regulations for the 96th annual Academy Awards. Among the changes are clarifications related to campaigning, an issue that gained more prominence last season with Andrea Riseborough’s campaign garnering her Best Actress nomination.
Henceforth, the AMPAS Rules formally recognize private events and gatherings of members (such as those by individual Actors Chapter members at a screening of Riseborough, to Leslie, to other friends who also happen to be Oscar voters). However, they do not recognize them as official FYC events, so companies are prohibited from funding, organizing, or endorsing them.
The Academy has also clarified the rules around the use of social media, another way Riseborough’s grassroots campaign has sparked controversy. Going forward, members may use social media but not to discuss voting preferences, decisions, strategies, or eligibility requirements (including new inclusion standards designed to promote diversity in employment).
Riseborough’s campaign, which was largely formed on social media directly to members for a little-watched film, resulted in a nomination for the star. But the main thing the Academy seems to be pressing is posts like Instagram from Frances Fisher urging members to watch the movie and not worry about voting for her because the other actresses (she mentioned four) were “locks.” This sort of thing is now in the books as a clear crossing of the line that, good intentions aside, Fisher simply had to draw attention to a performance she thought was worth watching.
Read the full list of new AMPAS campaign regulations here.
Other changes made today include expanding the scope of violations and penalties including a process for reviewing motion picture companies and individuals for conduct, as well as creating a process for reporting concerns.
Read the full list of rules here.
The Academy also limits the number of “hosted” shows (usually by a star or filmmaker) to a maximum of four in the first phase and cancels them outright after nominations. On the other hand, the haa group has 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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In addition, AMPAS doubled down on using digital communications exclusively, essentially banning any email, use of paper invitations or other screening schedules, etc. As in the past, digital communications will be coordinated through the Academy.
Companies can now freely indicate in advertisements whether a film has been “shortlisted” after the shortlists appear, something previously not permitted in FYC advertisements or mailings.
In addition, AMPAS has placed strict limits on the type of campaign activity governors are allowed to do, essentially saying they must remain publicly neutral.