How Oscar Campaign Reforms Will Affect What You’ll See on Social Media

This is in response to a controversial nomination earlier this year

Saule Pictys touches up Oscar cutouts as crews continue to build the red carpet at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater.
Social media posts from celebrities may change after new Academy guidelines
Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

At what point does posting enthusiastically on social media about a film or performance cross the line into something verboten? That’s a question that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had to grapple with in the wake of a controversial nomination earlier this year. Specifically, Andrea Riseborough’s Best Actress nomination for the film To Leslie — which was, depending on who you asked, either a triumph for a notable performance in a little-seen film or the result of a bunch of A-listers engaging in a stealth campaign on social media.

At the time, the Academy promised that it would revisit its guidelines about what was and was not permitted — something that made sense, given that the guidelines were first written at a time when social media was far less ubiquitous. And now, those revisions are here — and they’ll have an effect on what you might see from celebrities around award season.

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, the new guidelines are more explicit about what is and is not acceptable. Someone posting on social media about the films they enjoyed is entirely within the bounds of the new guidelines, with “[encouraging] others to view motion pictures” and “[praising] motion pictures and achievements” both permitted.

There are a significant number of restrictions on what Academy members can and can’t do, however. “[Lobbying] other members directly or in a manner outside of the scope of these promotion regulations to advance a motion picture, performance or achievement” is out, as is “[discussing] your voting preferences and other members’ voting preferences in a public forum.”

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Violation of these rules can lead to a number of outcomes, from disqualifying a film from awards consideration to removing members from the Academy. It’s a clarification that feels long overdue — and we’ll see what effect it might have on next year’s awards before too long.

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