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Has Buried screenwriter Chris Sparling just broken Academy campaigning rules? In one of the more brazen Oscar campaign tactics I’ve ever seen, Sparling has sent a letter to members of the Academy’s writers branch personally extolling the virtues of his script and asking them to vote for it for Best Original Screenplay. Under the heading FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION “BURIED” BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY, Sparling writes:

He then writes a synopsis of the movie, before continuing:

The return address on the letter belongs to public relations firm mPRm, which has been working on the film. Can this possibly be in accordance with the Academy’s campaigning rules? According to AMPAS regulations, “Brief cover letters may accompany screeners and scripts.” But the rules also state that “Mailings that extol the merits of a film, an achievement or an individual are not permitted. Mailings containing quotes from reviews about a film or achievement are not permitted, nor should they refer to other honors or awards, past or present, that have been received by either the film or those involved in the production or distribution of the film.” (Neither mPRm nor AMPAS could be reached for comment.)

Last spring, The Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier was banned from attending the 2010 Oscar ceremony after sending an email to voters asking them to vote for his film. Since Sparling seems like a long shot for a nomination at this point, perhaps he doesn’t care about losing tickets he doesn’t currently possess anyway.

UPDATE: MPRM president Marc Pogachevsky is apologizing for the letter, saying that Sparling didn’t know it was against the rules and explaining that in the pre-holiday rush, the letter was not properly vetted by Sparling’s reps.

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