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Awards blurb policy urged

A Miramax executive on Sunday called on the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. to adopt advertising guidelines for its end-of-the-year nominationand award ceremonies as a way to eliminate misleading movie advertisements.

Miramax marketing VP David Dinerstein said he is calling for the organizations to draft guidelines because of the “confusing ways” that critics association awards and Golden Globe nominations have been highlighted in “the recent round of industry ads, including our own ads.”

In the company-issued statement, Dinerstein said, “Miramax Films is asking for the various critics groups and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. to release advertising guidelines so that there is a standardization of advertising in the industry.”

In response to Dinerstein’s statement, an influential member of the HFPA responded Sunday that the Golden Globe organization will take up the guideline issue at its next board meeting, while a member of the NYFCC doubted that the critics circle wants to start “telling movie companies how to advertise.” An LAFCA rep could not be reached.

Dinerstein’s call for the development of standards comes a day after Miramax was criticized in a L.A. Times report by representatives of the New York Film Critics Circle and the L.A. Film Critics for its advertising for “The Piano.”

In one New York Times ad, Miramax headlined “The Piano” as “Winner! Best Picture” from the NYFCC, with a “runner-up” designation in parentheses and smaller type. Dinerstein said Miramax “fully intends to follow all guidelines and hopes other companies would follow suit.”

Dinerstein said, “The use of the runner-up awards in ads needs to be clarified.” He said Miramax was asked by members of the NYFCC to remove the runner-up designation from advertisements for “The Piano,” but “other companies continue to use the runner-up status in their ads.”

Indeed, a check of a local Sunday newspaper showed similar runner-up LAFCA best actress ads for Debra Winger in Savoy Pictures’ “Shadowlands” and Gramercy Pictures’ “A Dangerous Woman.” Attempts to reach executives of those companies Sunday were unsuccessful.

HFPA board member and spokeswoman Marianne Ruuth said Golden Globe advertisements should effectively list movies as nominees rather than award winners.

Asked about a Sunday ad for Universal’s “In the Name of the Father,” which uses the phrase “4 Golden Globe Awards” preceded by the words “nominated for” in much smaller print, Ruuth called the advertisement misleading. A U spokesman could not be reached.

“It should be emphasized that these are nominations, which to me are more important than the actual awards,” Ruuth said, adding that some current ads could make people “think the awards (ceremony) have already come and gone.”

NYFCC member and former chairman Bruce Williamson said, “I doubt we want to be telling movie companies how to advertise. The only thing we can do is clarify our awards and what awards we give. … I have always felt it was meaningless to announce runner-ups.”

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