Oscar's new campaign rules: How will they change the season?

Now that a day has gone by since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its new campaign regulations, Oscar strategists around town have begun digesting how the changes will affect the way movies are touted for the industry’s biggest prize. In short, studios may now specifically target Academy members and invite them to screenings, panels, and receptions, but after the nominations are announced, any events featuring food or drink are outlawed. “I think it’s positive,” says one strategist for a major studio. “It puts the films first, versus just receptions where people go just to have a meal and shake some hands. There’s a point where that becomes too much.” 

But one rule that has some strategists shaking their heads involves the number of panels an actor or filmmaker may take part in after the nominations announcement. The Academy has limited that number to two events per star. “That gives an advantage to a movie like The Help, which has such a big cast,” says one veteran campaigner. The upshot: Expect lots of parties and gatherings in the early months of the season (previously it was forbidden to target Academy members specifically) before the clamp-down takes effect. Still, some campaigners will manage to find a way to get around the tighter post-nomination guidelines. “They’ll invite Screen Actors Guild or Directors Guild members to events instead,” says one veteran campaigner, noting that those bodies have significant overlap with the Academy’s membership. “Then they’ll say [with mock surprise], ‘Oh, you’re also an Academy member? I didn’t know!'”

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Academy tightens Oscar campaign restrictions

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