Miramax Films will petition the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to allow the submission of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Red” as the official Swiss entry for a 1994 foreign-language film Oscar.
The Academy previously disqualified the entry, essentially on the grounds that the Polish director’s movie was not Swiss enough. Much of the creative team and crew behind “Red” also worked on the other two parts of Kieslowski’s three-part color series, including “White,” the official Oscar entry from Poland.
But Miramax says “Red” is indeed Swiss, having been funded by the Swiss government, shot in Switzerland and heavily staffed with Swiss crew and cast. The movie, says Miramax spokeswoman Cynthia Swartz, “is clearly more Swiss than anything else,” and a recent spate of critical nods intensified the distribbery’s drive to convince the Academy to reconsider. Swartz said Miramax will submit a petition of 50 to 75 names of industry insiders directly to Academy president Arthur Hiller early this week.
“Red” apparently did not meet all of the Academy’s guidelines for determining a film’s source country, but Miramax contends that the situation is not an example of the abuse the recently instated guidelines were devised to weed out. “The rules were implemented to prevent abuse, to prevent shopping films around from country to country,” Swartz said. “Red,” she added, was intended as a Swiss entry from the start.
Should the Academy reverse its decision, Miramax would have some speedy catching-up to do. The Foreign Language Film Committee has been screening entries since Dec. 7 in its attempt to whittle down 45 contenders to five nominees by Feb. 14.