MPAA Trying To Stop Oscar Home Video Samples 
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Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Friday, 26 September 2003’s Bridget Byrne is reporting that the MPAA is pushing to take steps to stop the practice of sending home video samples of first-run, potentially Oscar worthy films to the voting public. While it might be hard to imagine for audio-video consumers, but those Hollywood power players who vote on who wins the Oscars, in fact get VHS or DVD copies of the movies being considered for the awards. Blockbuster has got nothing on this select group of “industry’ executives.

Critics say that this proposed ban on samplers is a move by the major studios to collect more of the coveted awards over smaller, more independent studios. If these were records, there would be a discussion about piracy however the people who get such privileged DVDs know the value of what they have and use them for private home screenings of current films for their friends. Moreover, many of the studios encode the films such that if a copy sent to an executive was being distributed on the internet or sold by a crackhead on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, they would know where the source for the pirated copy came from.

The controversy highlights the economic importance for a film winning an Oscar and goes even further to show what studios will do to hedge their bets on winning one. The logistical fact is that the people who vote for the Oscars are not only important – they are extremely busy. If they have to schedule the time to go to the theater to see dozens of films, they might not have the time to see all of the movies that they want to see. From this comes the temptation to just vote from what they have heard or read in the trades or newspaper which leads to deserving films losing to popular or critically acclaimed films.

Sources:, Daily Variety

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