Thursday, May 23, 2024

Oscars: Motion Picture Academy Issues 40 Pages of Rules: Movies Must Play in Theaters, Voters Cannot Share Anonymous Ballots, Most Socializing Frowned Upon


It’s time for the annual list of rules and regulations from the Motion Picture Academy. They’ve issued a 40 page edict that should harsh the mellow of anyone who wants to have fun during awards season.

The big news, already known, is no streaming. If you want to qualify for Best Picture, your movie must play in a theater for seven days in one of the major markets– or fugeddaboutit. Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and so on will be affected. Netflix will be keenly aware of this for their Bradley Cooper movie about Leonard Bernstein. Apple will take note for the Scorsese film, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Amazon Studios is already wise to this. They’ve had Ben Affleck’s “Air” in theaters for weeks.

There are a lot of rules about campaigning for Oscars, most of them discouraging parties. A canape could buy a vote! (In reality, the voters love the cocktail parties and buffets particularly in L.A. where socializing is not so easy. No one — no one– ever voted for a movie or actor because they were given a lobster tail.)

Here’s a new rule that will affect in particular the Hollywood Reporter: the Academy now prohibits voters from speak to the press anonymously about their ballots. In the past, the minute balloting ends THR and others put out a bunch of these cloaked reports, almost none of which have any accuracy. They’re just fun. But fun is verboten! I’ll miss those things.

In particular:

You may encourage others to view motion pictures.
● You may praise motion pictures and achievements.
● You may not share your voting decisions at any point.
● You may not discuss your voting preferences and other members’ voting preferences in a
public forum. This includes comparing or ranking motion pictures, performances, or
achievements in relation to voting. This also includes speaking with press anonymously.
● You may not attempt to encourage other members to vote for or not vote for any motion
picture or achievement.
● You may not lobby other members directly or in a manner outside of the scope of these
promotional regulations to advance a motion picture, performance, or achievement.

And so it begins!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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