Dear Gossips,

Lost amidst the Met Gala madness and writers’ strike drama this week was the announcement from the Academy that they have changed some of their Oscar “for your consideration” and campaigning rules in the wake of the Andrea Riseborough controversy earlier this year. 


These rules will be in effect for the 96th Academy Awards next year, including a change to “private events” such as the screenings arranged—and paid for—by Andrea Riseborough and the To Leslie producers. (Jerry Bruckheimer also threw an “at home” party for Tom Cruise and Top Gun: Maverick.) 

Under the new rules, you CAN host private screenings, but the studio/distributor CANNOT pay for them, or advertise/endorse them. So, they have to be truly at home, out of pocket affairs between friends, some of whom may or may not be Oscar voters.

That’s a fair split. It doesn’t prevent people, especially those without a multi-million-dollar publicity budget, from supporting a particular film or performance, but it is drawing a clearer line between formal FYC events like Q&As and public screenings, and the kind of grassroots campaigning Riseborough engaged in. It does, however, mean that we’re probably in for a glut of private events during awards season, which won’t affect us, the spectators, but those participating in the season are probably already groaning at the notion of adding a bunch of living room cocktail parties to their calendars. 


Additionally, social media rules are clarified after a number of Riseborough’s friends and fellow To Leslie cast/crew members posted online about the film. You can post online about films and performances, but you can’t mention specific voting preferences or decisions. I’m calling this the “Frances Fisher rule”, since it seems designed to regulate the type of post Fisher made on Instagram (now deleted), outright telling people not to vote for certain actresses who were a “lock”, and to vote for Riseborough instead. There are other changes, too, which you can read here.


None of this seems out of pocket, and still allows for low-budget outreach efforts on behalf of films that won’t have massive studios paying their fees through awards season. The lingering impression of what went down with Andrea Riseborough is that a lot of people thought it was tacky, and these rule changes seem designed to limit the public tackiness, such as not openly talking about voting. It’s one thing to say, “I think you should watch this film, I really like it!”, and another to attempt to publicly sway voting. 

It’s all a little “cutthroat student class president campaign”, but then, Hollywood is just a metaphorical high school cafeteria. This is the student council nerds attempting to wrangle the popular kids against the upstarts who dare encroach on their prom court votes. We’ll see how it plays out next year, and whether or not Tyler takes Becky to the prom. 

Live long and gossip,