The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has updated its campaign rules, with the most significant changes in the music category.
The revised rules, available at oscars.org/regulations, state that “Music branch members may not contact other music branch members to promote the nomination of their own song in any way, including via mail, email, telephone or social media account.” Additionally, music branch members may not attend any special live performances of eligible songs unless attached to a screening.
The decision came at Tuesday’s board meeting. The group annually listens to recommendations from various committees and makes rulings based on events from the previous awards season. The Acad’s clarification on campaign rules was no doubt spurred by the disqualification this year for the “Alone Yet Not Alone” song nomination (Variety, Jan. 29).
Composer Bruce Broughton had sent an email to 70 of the music branch’s 240 voters, pointing out that his song was #57 on a DVD that contained clips of all 75 eligible songs. He said “Alone Yet Not Alone” was a small, independent faith-based film and might be overlooked. Broughton, a former music-branch governor and current member of the executive committee, wrote the music and asked for their consideration in the email, attaching his name to it. The music branch toppers decreed he had broken no rules, but in late January, the board decided otherwise and revoked the nomination.
Most Academy people contacted by Variety felt there was nothing malicious in Broughton’s move. But in a statement at the time, Acad president Cheryl Boone Isaacs made clear that someone who’s a former governor and current exec committee member cannot “personally promote one’s own Oscar submission” because it “creates the appearance of an unfair advantage.” So the updated rules are clarifying and underlining the previous regs.
The Oscars will be held Feb. 22, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.