Hollywood’s biggest annual advertisement for itself — the Academy Awards broadcast — now can carry commercials for movies themselves.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board voted to allow commercials for movies to air on the Oscar telecast for the first time starting with the Feb. 22 ceremony on ABC, academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger said Wednesday.
The vote Tuesday night lifts a ban on movie advertising that had been in place since the Oscars hit the airwaves in the early 1950s.
“This is an opportunity for there to be more entertainment content about movies in a show that’s celebrating movies,” Unger said.
The new rules will allow one spot per movie distributor during the Oscar show, and they must not have aired elsewhere previously. Commercials can promote only movies opening no earlier than the end of April, two months after the Oscars.
Studios also will not be allowed to use the terms Academy Awards or Oscars in them, and the commercials can promote only one movie, not a slate of films.
The ad ban had been in place for appearance’s sake, so viewers would not get the impression that studios paying for commercial time had any direct role in picking Oscar winners.
Oscar recipients are chosen through balloting by the 6,000-member academy, which includes actors, directors, writers, studio executives and other Hollywood professionals.