Let the frenzy over Oscar begin

February 10, 1997|By Knight-Ridder Tribune

Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow, but you can bet studios have campaigned to influence the 5,173 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Advertisements run daily. Movie cassettes are sent to members' homes. Publicists offer potential nominees for timely interviews. "The key word is 'awareness,' " says Susan Culley, a top Hollywood publicist.

Sometimes, there are glaring examples of a studio's bending over backward to make nice to stars. "There is a lot of back-patting because the studios want to work with certain stars again," Culley says.

Profits are also at stake. "We tracked the last 12 movies to win the best-picture Oscar and, on the average, these films made about $24 million between the time they were nominated and the night they won the Oscar," says Marci Polier, president of Entertainment Data Inc.

Promotion campaigns are now strictly regulated, but only because one studio went too far. It sent packages that held a popcorn box holding an audio-cassette player complete with a tape of a song in the running.

Ric Robertson, the academy's executive administrator, says, "Our board members were furious. They wanted some immediate guidelines, and that's when we came up with these rules."

Pub Date: 2/10/97

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