A possible brouhaha is brewing over the eligibility of Bille August’s “The Best Intentions” in the competition for the best foreign-language film Oscar.As winner of the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or and other plaudits, pic is understandably being submitted as Sweden’s entry this year. Deadline for entry is Monday. Potential dispute stems from fact that a 340-minute miniseries version of the story, written by Ingmar Bergman, was broadcast on various Scandinavian television stations over the holidays last year. No. 1 rule for foreign film submissions at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is that a picture may not have appeared on TV prior to theatrical release. As domestic distributor, the Samuel Goldwyn Co. has nothing to do with the Swedish Film Institute’s dealings with the Academy, but company senior marketing VP Leonie de Picciotto said, “As I understand it, the hazy part of it is that the miniseries aired on TV, but the movie didn’t. They were shot simultaneously, but as two separate things. It’s not as if we took the miniseries and cut it down to a feature.” Feature version runs 180 minutes. Committee to meet Academy Awards coordinator Patrick Stockstill yesterday stated, “The Academy hasn’t made a ruling on the matter,” but added that “the executive committee is being called to meet and discuss the situation.” Group will probably meet within a week or so. Bergman’s multi-Oscar-winning “Fanny and Alexander” also came out in feature and mini-series versions, but above rule didn’t apply in that case because the feature was shown in Swedish theaters prior to TV broadcast of the extended edition.
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