Academy to allow film ads on Oscars

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For the first time since the Oscars moved to TV in the 1950s, studios will be able to advertise movies during the telecast of the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had long banned movie advertising out of concern that it might look as if studios were influencing the outcome of the awards, but the board of governors voted Tuesday night, after listening to the recommendations of a committee charged with studying the issue, to open up the show to movie ads — albeit with plenty of restrictions.

"With the criteria that the committee recommended in place, it offers us a further way to celebrate the movies, which is what the show is all about," Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger said of the Feb. 22 broadcast.

In order to maintain an arm's length between the competing films and the ads themselves, the spots can't promote any of the nominated movies — as well as prequels or sequels — whether they be narrative features, animated films or docs. Movies in current release also will be verboten, with only movies that are set to open the last week of April or later allowed.

Each distributor will be permitted one spot each. Only one spot will be allowed during each commercial break. And each spot can promote only one film. Finally, the spots can't invoke the words "Oscar" or "Academy Award," so don't look for any ad trumpeting "from the Academy Award-winning director." (partialdiff)
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