The Oscars Set New Campaign Guidelines After This Year’s Controversies

The Academy has announced the biggest rules overhaul in almost 30 years after the controversies involving Andrea Riseborough, Tom Cruise, and Michelle Yeoh.

At the start of May, the Academy announced its “most significant overhaul” when it comes to campaigning during awards season. These new rules will take effect during the upcoming 96th Oscars.

The updated regulations clarify some of the general guidelines involving social media, communications in public forums, and the review process for individuals directly associated with a film.

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Updates and changes include:

  • 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

There is now a limit for the number of hosted screenings held before nominations and they are completely eliminated post-nominations.

Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick received several private screenings with many voters for the Academy Awards in attendance.

In the end, the Cruise events were seen as well within the Academy’s code of conduct, as the screening at Jerry Bruckheimer’s home was considered a celebration of the producer himself. Cruise was not present at that event.

Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick
Image via Instagram @tomcruise

For social media, the rule against referencing other competitors is still intact. The Academy has also established that discussing voting decisions among members (or even speaking anonymously to the press) is prohibited.

The Academy did not rescind Andrea Riseborough’s Best Actress nomination. However, it was acknowledged that they did “discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”

The outreach campaign for Riseborough’s To Leslie involved several screenings hosted by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. The Academy is now limiting the number of hosted screenings to four per film.

Image via Instagram @gwynethpaltrow

The film’s campaign on social media was also supported by many actors. It was Frances Fisher’s posts mentioning other contenders and voting strategies that forced the Academy to specifically ban them.

The new rule states that Academy members are not allowed to use social media to “encourage or discourage members to vote for any motion picture, performance, or achievement.”

On Instagram, Michelle Yeoh also reposted a Vogue article that mentioned fellow nominee Cate Blanchett. She has since deleted the post after social media users claimed that it could be grounds for a violation.

These clarifications are evidently needed due to the rise of social media since the rules were last revised.

The 96th Oscars will be held on March 10, 2024 where films such as Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon are expected to compete.

Banner image by Gia Knight from Pixabay.

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