Academy Issues New Rules Affecting Music Branch Oscar Campaigning


UPDATED: After last season's "Alone Yet Not Alone" controversy, members of the music branch may not contact each other to promote a song for nomination.

As part of its annual review of campaign regulations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s board of governors has approved a new rule affecting its music branch: Music branch members may not contact other members of the branch directly to promote the nomination of their own song in any way, including via mail, email, telephone or social media. 

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Additionally, music branch members may not attend any special live performances of eligible songs unless attached to a screening.

The first change comes in the wake of last season's music branch controversy that saw the Academy rescind the best song nomination for the song "Alone But Not Alone." The tune, which appeared in the film of the same name, was written by music branch member and composer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel. But after the surprise nomination was announced, the Academy decided that Broughton acted improperly by sending an email to at least 70 members of the 240-member branch, asking them to listen to his song. Rescinding the nomination, the Academy said at the time, that Broughton "took advantage of information that few other potential nominees are privy to." 

The new rule specifically forbids members of the branch from reaching out to each other to promote a song.

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The second change in the music campaign regulations addresses the sudden surge of concert events that popped up during the last awards season in an effort to highlight individual song and scores. The music from Inside Llewyn Davis, for example, was spotlighted at concerts in New York City and at the Buffalo Club in West Los Angeles. Idina Menzel performed "Let It Go," the eventual Oscar winner, at another awards season event, and Pharrell Williams offered up his "Happy" at another awards season gathering.

The music branch's new rule does not prohibit such events or performances, but it makes them off limits for members of the music branch — who vote the nominations for best song — by saying, "music branch members may not attend any special live performances of eligible songs unless attached to a screening."

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No changes were made in other areas this year, and a complete list of campaign regulations can be found here

The Oscars will be held on Feb. 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and will be televised live by on ABC.