Acad rules against negative Oscar ads

Org to allow use of free passes at commercial theaters

Studios are now restricted from “casting a negative or derogatory light” on other films or individuals, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ newly updated regulations on Oscar marketing campaigns.

Rule was initiated in part due to a full-page DreamWorks ad that appeared in Daily Variety last year, pushing “House of Sand and Fog’s” Shohreh Aghdashloo for supporting actress over Miramax nominee (and eventual winner) Renee Zellweger for “Cold Mountain.”

“That ad sort of crystallized the issue for us,” said Acad executive administrator Ric Robertson. “It got us to thinking we needed to craft some language to address that kind of situation.”

Citing otherwise good studio behavior during the 2003-04 awards season, AMPAS introduced only one other rule, which allows members to redeem free passes or coupons at commercial theaters. This applies primarily to exhibitors outside Los Angeles and New York, where an Academy card can carry significantly less weight.

Three changes were also made to existing regulations:

  • Rule 3 now permits letters announcing the shipment of screeners to be mailed to members.

  • Rule 9 now prohibits distribution of sheet music from film scores at any time.

  • Rule 12 now permits screenplays to be reproduced in formats smaller than 8½ by 11 inches.
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