Oscar organizers outline new regulations for music categories

LOS ANGELES Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:56am IST

Oscar statues stand at the entrance to the Dolby Theater during preparations for the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 1, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

Oscar statues stand at the entrance to the Dolby Theater during preparations for the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Files

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The organizers of the Academy Awards are putting rules in place for next year to prevent any missteps in the film campaign process, targeting the music categories.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, hosts of the annual Oscar ceremony, said on Wednesday that members of its music branch are not allowed to contact other members via mail, email, telephone or social media to promote the nomination of their song.

Voting members are also not permitted to attend a live performance of eligible songs unless it is tied to a film screening.

The new regulations come after an Oscar-nominated contender in the original song category this year was disqualified after the Academy said the songwriter, Bruce Broughton, had violated rules by emailing voters about submitting the song for awards consideration.

Broughton, a former Academy governor and executive committee member in its music branch, had composed the title song for the independent Christian-faith movie "Alone Yet Not Alone," which beat out higher-profile contenders to secure a place on the Oscars' best original song shortlist.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement at the time that Broughton's use of his position in the Academy to promote his Oscar submission "creates the appearance of an unfair advantage."

Broughton denied any wrongdoing and said he was "devastated" at the disqualification of his song. Four contenders remained in the race, and the Oscar was won by "Let It Go," the hit tune from Walt Disney Co's animated film, "Frozen."

Studios begin the Oscar campaigns for their movies months ahead of the awards ceremony, hosting screenings and events to promote eligible submissions.

The Academy on Wednesday released an updated list of rules including regulation of screenings. It said studios can include question-and-answer sessions with talent, but after nominations are announced, no screening event can include a reception offering complimentary food and beverages, and Academy members cannot host or serve as moderators.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by Patricia Reaney and Matthew Lewis)

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