AMPAS restricts screenings for potentials

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences not directly connected with an Oscar-nominated film or its producing/distributing studio now are prohibited from hosting screenings of the film for campaign purposes.

The restriction — one of two new regulations pertaining to studio-based award campaigns — stems from the Acad’s belief that voting members should not become part of a film’s publicity machine.

“It’s tightening the rule that says Academy members should not publicly endorse a film during the (awards) period. Lay back, let the films play for themselves and on their own,” said Sid Ganis, chair of the org’s public relations executive committee, which formulated the guidelines.

While the restriction does not take effect until after nominations are announced, Ganis advised members to be discreet for the whole of awards season. “If they’re wondering if they should or shouldn’t get involved in hosting a screening, they shouldn’t. It’s an easy answer. Don’t do it,” he said. “We’ll all be better off.”

The board of governors also passed a regulation allowing studios to provide Web links for Academy members as long as the referenced sites contain only basic, bare-bones screening information. Photos, audio, video or other multimedia elements may not be distributed.

Board also issued a note to distribs, filmmakers and marketers of foreign-language films, documentaries and short films stating that the Acad’s regulations regarding screeners do not apply to them, as members voting in those categories are required to attend special Academy screenings of the pics in contention.

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