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Oscars: Academy Issues Rule Changes for Awards and Campaigns

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has tweaked its rules on Oscar awards and campaigns., with the most significant changes centering on qualifying runs and on parties and concerts during the Oscar campaign period.

In terms of eligibility, the Academy is now more specific on the number and times of screenings. It has been a longtime rule that a film must begin a commercial run of seven consecutive days that begins during the calendar year. Now, there must be a minimum of three screenings a day, with at least one of them beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Films that complete their Los Angeles qualifying run before July 31, 2016 are exempt from this additional requirement.

This decision counteracts such distributor moves as booking one 10 a.m. screening a day.

For documentary features, the geographical area for a New York qualifying run has been expanded to include all of the city’s boroughs.

In terms of campaigns, AMPAS is cracking down on the number and style of events during the season. According to the Thursday announcement, “Academy members may not be invited to or attend any non-screening event, party or dinner that is reasonably perceived to unduly influence members or undermine the integrity of the vote. Members who fail to comply with this regulation will be subject to a one-year suspension of membership for first-time violations and expulsion for subsequent violations, as well as all other available remedies.”

So campaign strategists will have to be careful in their event planning this year.

In addition, “music branch members may not be invited to or attend any screening, non-screening event or concert that includes a live performance of music eligible for nomination.” In the past few years, awards strategists have offered a few concerts that included Oscar-eligible songs.

Read the Academy’s full press release

The rules for the 89th Academy Awards are posted on the AMPAS website. Every year, a committee reviews the past awards season to see if any rules need to be changed or clarified. The panel then presents recommendations to the board for approval. These latest moves were OK’d at the board’s June 28 meeting.

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