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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
New rules for Oscar campaigns
Daniel Day Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio in Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York broke campaigning rules this year
Organisers of the Academy Awards are planning new rules to stop aggressive campaigning by film distributors.

Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Thursday the academy would be drafting new guidelines soon.

He said the rules would be in place before the end of the year in a bid to stop unfair campaigning before the 2004 ceremony.

"This sort of takes the fun out of the issue," Mr Pierson said.

"This should be a celebration and a party, the whole Oscar thing, and when it begins to get nasty, it takes the edge off for all the participants."

The new rules will try and halt excessive marketing of films, where academy members are sent elaborate publicity packs and videos of contending films in a bid to sway their judgement.

Current academy rules outlaw "excessive marketing" but penalties are usually no more serious than a studio having its ticket allocation to the awards ceremony reduced - seen as little more than a slap on the wrist.

The new academy guidelines are expected seek harsher punishment for studios found breaking the rules.

An Oscar victory can add millions to a film's revenue

There are concerns smaller studios could be at a disadvantage because they would be unable to spend as much on promotional offensives.

Studios are currently only allowed to send a tape or a DVD of their film to academy members, with no extra features or free gifts, in order to keep competition fair.

Other rules include preventing distributors from inviting academy members to screenings for specifically Oscar-nominated films.

Distributors often bend the rules by inviting members to screenings at generic industry events.

With an Oscar able to boost a film's revenues by up to $10m, competition for the statuettes has become fierce.

'Outright violation'

In March, the studio Miramax was rebuked by awards officials after running an advertisement using an article where a former head of the Academy praised Gangs of New York director Martin Scorsese.

Mr Pierson said at the time the advert was an "outright violation of academy rules".

Miramax claimed it was unaware what it had done was outside the rules.

Even studios have complained of excessive marketing.

Last year, Universal Studios said A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe was the subject of a bad-mouthing campaign by other studios.

The film later won best film and best director for Ron Howard.

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18 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
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12 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
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02 Jul 02  |  Entertainment

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