Academy adds rule to make Oscar hopefuls play nice

July 23, 2004|By John Horn | John Horn,LOS ANGELES TIMES

In response to a DreamWorks Oscar advertisement this year that was deemed "an attack" on another film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has added a new rule governing next year's Academy Awards.

"Ads, mailings, Web sites or any other forms of campaign communication that attempt to promote a particular film or achievement by casting a negative or derogatory light on a competing film or achievement are not permitted," the new rule says. "In particular, any campaign tactic that singles out `the competition' by name or title is expressly forbidden."

In February, DreamWorks ran advertisements in Hollywood trade newspapers promoting the Oscar chances of its House of Sand and Fog co-star Shoreh Aghdashloo, repeatedly mentioning Miramax's Cold Mountain co-star Renee Zellweger by name.

The DreamWorks ad said that while awards handicappers assumed Zellweger "will win," perhaps Aghdashloo "should win." (Zellweger ultimately captured the Oscar.)

DreamWorks apologized for its ad, calling it an "ill-advised mistake."

Academy spokesman John Pavlik said the rule was prompted by the DreamWorks ad and backlash against it.

Another new rule will let studios send out coupons to Oscar voters so they can attend free movie showings. A handful of companies sent out such coupons during the most recent awards campaign, but those studios required exemptions to the existing rules.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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