Academy Cracks Down on Oscar Campaigns With New Mailing Procedure (Exclusive)

Starting this summer, movie screeners and promo materials no longer can be directly sent to AMPAS members, but instead must go through mailing houses that the Academy will select and then furnish with contact information for members.
Illustration: Marek Haiduk

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has adopted a new awards season policy that will affect its 7,258 voting members, whose mailboxes are filled with awards season materials each fall, and the awards consultants behind those mailings.

This morning, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, the Academy is holding a meeting at its Beverly Hills headquarters with publicists who work on awards campaigns to brief them on a new policy approved by the organization's 54-person board of governors at its Dec. 5 meeting: after the 90th Oscars on March 4, filmmakers and distributors will no longer be able to mail screeners, screening notices or invitations, screenplays, CDs or any other promotional materials directly to Academy members.

Instead, starting in the summer, the Academy will require that these sorts of items be sent via third-party mailing houses that the Academy will select and furnish with the correct contact information for those of its members who opt to receive such material.

The Academy has always closely guarded its membership list, and awards consultants have always sought to reach Academy members. For as long as there have been screeners, some awards consultants have made a business out of cobbling together lists of Academy members' addresses (which often contain incomplete or outdated information); they, in turn, charge others to use their lists.

The Academy long has turned a blind eye to such practices, but now has decided to take control of the situation. With the Academy overseeing outreach, its members — whose numbers have skyrocketed in recent years as the organization has become more diverse and international — will no longer be badgered each year by multiple parties to confirm or update their contact information; and awards consultants will be able to rest assured that their mailings are reaching their desired audience.

It is expected that the Academy — like SAG-AFTRA, the DGA and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — will take a fee for each use of its mailing service, above and beyond the cost of the mailing itself. The exact fees were not immediately available, and the Academy did not respond to a request for comment about the new policy.

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