The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took some feedback from last year and announced some new regulations for this year. They mostly pertain to the time between the nominees are announced and the day of the voting deadline.

Academy members can only be invited to four screenings of a nominated film, if those screenings include filmmaker participation. (A fifth screening is permitted in the U.K.) Receptions are forbidden at those screenings.

In other restrictions, companies are now limited to sending one piece of mail or email per week, which should cut back on another common complaint made by Academy voters. Campaigns cannot send members links to websites that use multimedia elements.

And while companies can use Oscar-related publications for ads and other promotional materials, they cannot have those publications use their subscriber lists to send materials directly to Academy members.

These are pretty much just tweaks to the changes that were made last year.

Tighter regulations were put in place last year to govern the second phase of campaigning, from the announcement of nominations until the close of voting. At the same time, restrictions were lifted on parties, screening events and Q&As during the initial phase before the announcement of nominations. The idea is to keep all of the wining and dining to a minimum as to not influence votes.

The post-nomination period will be longer in the upcoming Oscar season, with the Academy Awards show remaining in late February but the nominations being moved up a week, to January 15.

In addition to allowing screenings that include Q&As with filmmakers and cast, something that was forbidden before last year, the Academy is now holding those screenings itself. Many of the official AMPAS screenings, which take place every Saturday and Sunday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, now include post-screening Q&As and posted on the Academy website

The new rules spell out that companies can send both screener DVDs and digital downloads of films, making official a change that was quietly made during the last Oscar season.

I will never be perfect voting system, but at least they are making an effort to be sure that all of the nominated films are on the same playing field.


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