Advertising slots during this year's Academy Awards telecast on ABC have sold out. But just as last year, advertising rules apply, meaning "marketers still have to make sure certain ads featuring celebrities or celebrity voice-overs don't run near segments of the program that could feature those very same stars."
Last year, the prominent example of this rule in action was best actor nominee Jeff Bridges and his voiceover work for Oscar advertiser Hyundai (above).
This year, Bridges is the most prominent nominee to lend his talent to the, ahem, commercial sector. But he's far from the only one.
The nominees for Best Work in a Commercial Campaign (TV or Print) are:
127 Hours Best Actor nominee James Franco for Gucci:
Best Actor nominee Javier Bardem has not done many high profile ads, but he has endorsed the (RED) Lazarus Effect campaign.
Like Bardem, Best Actor nominee Mark Ruffalo lends his name to causes he believes in, such as congressional candidate Maurice Hinchey.
Black Swan best actress nominee Natalie Portman has also been getting buzz for her topless Dior perfume ad. She has done ad work for Isaac Mizrahi and put her name on a vegan shoe collection for the now-defunct Te Casan.
As with many Hollywood stars, Portman has also done foreign ads. For example, Lux shampoo.
Best Supporting Actress nominee Helena Bonham Carter did some work for Macmillan Cancer Support.
But Bonham Carter didn't always just do voice-overs; years ago she was the face of Suntory Malts.
Before she was hiring Rooster Cogburn to find the man who shot her father in True Grit (and receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination in the process), Hailee Steinfeld was talking up "Blingatude" for K-Mart.
Best Actress nominee Nicole Kidman has worked with many brands, including Chanel.
and Sky TV for her fellow Aussie, Rupert Murdoch:
And would you guess... Nintendo?
The Town best supporting actor nominee Jeremy Renner is another ad pro; here's a Duracell spot:
Also, Bud Light:
Of course it's not just Oscar-nominated actors who get in on the ad biz payday.
The quirky Coen Brothers, nominated for True Grit, teamed up with the late great Dennis Hopper for a Gap ad:
And have even directed commercials, including (it's said) this Honda ad from 1997.
Best Director nominee for The Social Network, David Fincher, also directed Brad Pitt for Heineken:
And re-teamed with Pitt for Softbank:
Fincher's Nike football ad also created a lot of buzz:
But probably not as much his ad for the iPhone 3G:
Then there is Fincher for Coca-Cola.
Then there are the nominees who are not found on the marquee. Lots of these talented folks make a living in the ad business. A few of this year's include 127 Hours best achievement in music nominee A.R. Rhaman for AirTel.
Best Short Film nominee Tanel Toom for Kohuke.
Finally, there are the commercials that are so old the audience wouldn't even recognize the nominated stars. This includes Christian Bale's Pac Man Cereal spot from 1988:
And maybe best of all, best supporting actor nominee Geoffrey Rush's commercial Down Under for Chrysler Charger. (Screenshot below; full spot here).
Of course, the real brand being protected by the advertising policy is The Oscars itself. A flood of advertising featuring the very same actors competing for the most respected award for "art" might sully the prominence of such an award.
And for your consideration: On February 22, Brandchannel will announce its annual Brandcameo Product Placement Awards. We invite you to weigh in for the reader survey portion of the awards.