Is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences promoting this year’s anything-can-happen Oscar race a little too well? It seems that the venerable organization is spewing forth so much hype about the March 26 ceremony that it has managed to attract unprecedented - and, in some cases, unwelcome - attention.
Is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences promoting this
year’s anything-can-happen Oscar race a little too well? It seems that
the venerable organization is spewing forth so much hype about the March
26 ceremony that it has managed to attract unprecedented - and, in some
cases, unwelcome - attention.
The reporters on the mailing list to receive missives about the ceremony
are getting several press releases per day on everything from the
ever-expanding list of presenters to who will be serving up the haute
cuisine at the post-show Governor’s Ball. (Just so you know, it’s
These daily updates on the ceremony have become standard fare in Variety
and on shows like Access Hollywood. This is all well and good, says one
Academy member, but there are rules that must still be respected
However, pesky journalists trying to sniff out behind-the-scenes
goings-on involving the voting process have apparently crossed the line
Claiming that The Wall Street Journal was polling Academy members on how
they would be voting without disclosing that the questioners were, in
fact, reporters, academy president Robert Rehme declared war on the
paper. He fired off a letter to Academy members warning them about this
scam; a spokesperson for the WSJ countered by denying Rehme’s claims
that the callers weren’t being open about the fact that they were
While there’s nothing per se illegal about the Journal’s actions, the
paper has ruffled more than a few feathers. Says one Academy member:
’It’s an unwritten rule in covering the Oscars that there are subjects
which are off-limits. Getting members to speak off the record about who
might win based on insider information certainly falls into that
The Academy’s policies clearly state that members cannot reveal their
choices. But another miffed member said that those who were quizzed
skirted this policy by turning the tables on the scribes and giving
Alas, the saga continues. There has also been some talk among Academy
members that studio spies have been making calls to voters.
Perhaps some ill-will remains on the part of various factions who claim
Miramax used any means necessary last year to steer votes away from
Dreamworks’ Saving Private Ryan. Those same voices are now clamoring
that The Cider House Rules’ seven nominations can be attributed to
another Miramax push.
So the question remains: when does ’word of mouth’ become a bad
The answer: apparently whenever Hollywood power brokers don’t get to
control what’s being said.
- Diane Clehane is a contributing editor for TV Guide.