The Academy is tightening the Oscar campaign and international submission rules

In wake of “To Leslie,” Academy halts Oscar campaign, limits celebrity gatherings and social media promotions.

The Academy’s Board of Governors met on Friday and voted on a long list of rule changes for the 96th Academy Awards, which will be held on March 10, 2024. These amended rules govern new requirements for countries submitting films for the Best International Film Oscar, as well as an increased promotional campaign. restrictions and General Entry eligible release dates. Finally, the admission standards for best picture eligibility announced in 2020 will come into force. (You know you can see the full list of updated regulations here.)

As for changing the number of theaters and cities that films must book to be eligible for the Oscars, that conversation has been tabled for the next set of rule changes for the 97th Academy Awards in 2025, according to sources. , as there are complicated questions about major studio releases versus less well-funded independent distribution.

In a surprising move, the Academy also changed the rules of the international feature film category. It is now required that selection committees around the world, in every country that submits a film for an Oscar, must be made up of at least 50 percent filmmakers (artists and/or artisans).

That means the Academy, in an effort to improve the quality of foreign-language films submitted each year, tells every country, from Brazil and Iran to France and Timbuktu — including government-run selection committees — how to choose its Oscars. movies. This may reduce the political bias in some of these selections, but if Iran does not want to nominate a banned filmmaker, this new rule is unlikely to make a difference.

Winning the international Oscar means a lot to countries around the world. Many will probably comply. But who makes the final call on what to submit? This is the question.

Finally, following the initial announcement in 2020, the Academy’s Admissions Standards will begin. In order to participate in the Best Picture category, these requirements will come into effect at the 96th Academy Awards. A new form must be completed when submitting a film in the Best Film category: the Application for Representation and Inclusion (RAISE) form. All films must meet two of the four entry standards. (More information on admissions standards: here.)

In the wake of the controversy over the grassroots Oscar campaign for “To Leslie” that won Andrea Riseborough’s Best Actress nomination — which included multiple private screenings, parties and social media postings — the board of governors tightened Oscar campaign rules.

The Academy is trying to clarify the campaign rules for private gatherings. The Board of Governors authorizes private events attended by members of the Academy, but these are not considered “For Your Attention” (FYC) events. This means that film distributors and producers are not allowed to pay, set up or support them.

As for Academy members’ use of direct mail and public social media to promote their favorites, the Academy will engage in any discussion of Oscar voting strategy, decisions or preferences, and eligibility requirements such as admissions standards. (They may expect some backlash.)

The Academy is developing ways to enforce the new rules by establishing a process for reporting campaign violations or concerns, as well as a review process for any distributor or individual associated with the violation. The Academy will apply sanctions.

The Academy drastically reduces the unlimited number of screenings a film would have had. In recent years, Oscar campaigns have relied on stars and A-list filmmakers to stage screenings. They are now limited to a maximum of four in the run-up to Oscar nominations. There will be no “host” screening after nominations are announced.

On the other hand, Q&As and panels that offer supposedly useful information are fair game, and campaigners can set up as many as they want before and after the nominations. (In the season after the nominations, the number of Q&As was reduced to four.)

Academy President Janet Yang at the 2022 Science and Technology Awards at the Academy of Motion Pictures on Friday, February 24, 2023.

Academy President Janet Yang at the 2022 Science and Technology Awards at the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum

Al Seib / ©AMPAS

The Academy’s governors have also made it clear that they themselves cannot participate in any Oscar campaign by hosting screenings, Q&As, or hosting panels, unless they happen to be directly related to a particular film or are invited to participate in the Academy’s official at the event. .

When Academy President Janet Yang was criticized for posting her support for Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh during Oscar season, she deleted her tweets. The Academy makes it clear that such public promotions are not permitted from the time the shortlists are published until the end of the final vote. The Academy is also relaxing the rules regarding the use of “shortlisting” in FYC correspondence. It is now enabled.

As with animated films, in the live-action short film category, the Academy allows all members of the Academy who apply to participate in the voting.

In the interest of sustainability, the Academy prohibits the sending of physical marketing materials, from postcards to screening schedules. Campaigners may still use digital communication tools to reach Academy members, but only through an Academy-approved mailroom.

The Governors of the Academy also approved the establishment of two submission deadlines for the general entry categories. The feature film must have an eligible theatrical release date between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023. The submission deadline is September 15, 2023 (for films released between January 1 and June 30) and November 15, 2023 (for films released between July 1 and December 31). In several other film categories, there will be two submission deadlines based on the date of the qualification.

Submission deadlines and other important dates are listed below.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023: First submission deadline for animated short, feature documentary, documentary short and live-action short

Friday, September 15, 2023: First submission deadline for animated feature films and general entry categories

Monday, October 2, 2023: Deadline for submissions in the Documentary and International Feature Film categories

Monday, October 16, 2023: Final submission deadline for Animated Short Film, Documentary Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories

Wednesday, November 1, 2023: Final submission deadline for Music (Original Music) and Music (Original Song) categories

Wednesday, November 15, 2023: Deadline for submissions in the Animated Feature Film and General Entry categories

Saturday, January 13, 2024: Visual Effects Marker Screening (Baking)

Sunday, January 14, 2024: Make-up and hairstyle marking screening and Voice marking screening (baking)

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