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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Tough rules for Oscars campaigns
Oscar
An Oscar is the film industry's most coveted award
Organisers of the Academy Awards have unveiled tough new rules to prevent aggressive Oscars campaigning by voters.

Under the new regulations, released in Los Angeles on Wednesday, voting members could be kicked out of the prestigious academy if they break the rules.

A lesser penalty would be suspension from the movie world's most powerful organisation. Either way, the academy stressed it was getting tough, laying down "regulations" and no longer mere "guidelines".

The crackdown was prompted by the controversy ahead of 2003's ceremony surrounding best director nominee Martin Scorsese.

Executives of his studio flouted the public lobbying guidelines in an effort to win him the award for Gangs of New York.

Daniel Day Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio in Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York broke campaigning rules this year

The new rules are designed to curb over-zealous campaigning from here on, said Academy President Frank Pierson.

"There will now be personal consequences to improper campaigning," Mr Pierson said.

"New paragraphs in the preamble to the regulations makes it clear that the academy isn't fooling around," added Academy spokesman John Pavlik.

Ticket withdrawal

The new penalty of expulsion or suspension from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is aimed mainly at studio executives and staff.

These are the people responsible for increasing their film's chances of being nominated, and winning an Oscar.

But it could just as easily apply to nominees themselves, including actors, directors and writers - of whom many are academy members.

Previously, the harshest punishment given out to members who went against the guidelines was the taking away of tickets to the Oscars ceremony.

But, losing Oscar tickets "is not an effective deterrent. It's a slap on the wrist", Mr Pierson said.

Bad-mouthing

Other new initiatives from the academy to ensure good behaviour include the outlawing of quotes from academy members in movie ads.

Gangs of New York distributor Miramax angered other nominees with its newspaper ad campaign that reprinted an opinion column by Oscar-winning director Robert Wise that praised Scorsese.

Such tactics had been used before but they had to be stopped before they got "out of hand", said Richard Kahn, who heads the academy committee that revised the rules.

Even studios have complained of excessive marketing.

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

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

Meanwhile, the Academy is stepping up preparations for next year's Oscars by inviting entries for the best foreign film category.

Officials from 87 countries have been asked for their entries, in advance of an October deadline. Nominations for the 2004 Oscars are announced in January.




SEE ALSO:
Final day for Oscar votes
18 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Oscar rebuke for Gangs ad
17 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Miramax perfects its Oscars magic
12 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
New date proposed for Oscars
02 Jul 02  |  Entertainment
Streep dismisses Oscar race
04 Feb 03  |  Entertainment


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