LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A recent broadcast on Cuban television of Michael
Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" has raised questions about the Oscar
eligibility of one of America's most talked-about and critically acclaimed
movies of the year.
Under Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules, films are
disqualified from competing in the Oscar race for best documentary if shown
on television or on the Internet within nine months of their theatrical
However, an unauthorized or pirated display of a film would not render the
movie ineligible, academy spokesman John Pavlik said on Tuesday.
"If somebody steals your movie and puts it on TV, we're not going to
penalize you for it," he told Reuters.
Pavlik added that the Academy had not looked into the circumstances
surrounding the film's prime-time broadcast last Thursday on state-run
television in Cuba.
Moore's blistering critique of the President Bush and his conduct of the war
in Iraq also played to packed movie houses on the communist-ruled island for
A spokesman for one of the film's U.S. distributors, the Fellowship
Adventure Group -- formed by Miramax Films co-chairman Bob and Harvey
Weinstein -- told Reuters the TV broadcast in Cuba was "not authorized."
And entertainment trade paper Daily Variety reported that the French-based
overseas distributor for the film, Wild Bunch, denied that it had made any
TV deal in Cuba.
Because the Academy rule restricting TV or Internet display of Oscar
contenders applies only to documentaries, "Fahrenheit 9/11" could still
qualify for nomination as best picture, best director or best original
Variety speculated that backers of the film might regard the movie, which
has been popular among Hollywood's liberal-leaning elite, as having a better
chance of clinching a nomination in the best picture race if it was
disqualified from the documentary contest.
Producers of Moore's film have another month to decide how they want the
film to be entered in Oscar competition. The deadline for submission of
documentary candidates is Sept. 1. Pavlik said the academy typically
receives about 60 submissions for that category.
Last year's Academy Award for best documentary feature went to the Errol
Morris film "Fog of War," about the difficult lessons of military conflict
learned by former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Moore won the year
before for his study of gun violence in America, "Bowling for Columbine."
Mum: "It's past eight Alex, you don't want to be late
for school, son ..."
Alex: "Bit of a pain in my gulliver, Mum ... Leave us be,
and I'll try and sleep it off - Then I'll be as right as
dodgers for this after (...) Got to rest, Mum. Got to get
fit, otherwise I'm liable to miss a lot more school ..."
Sheila Raynor as "Mum" and Malcolm McDowell as "Alex" -
"A Clockwork Orange" - 1971
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