M'max's screening idea receives foreign response

The electioneering over the foreign language film Oscar continues. In a letter dated March 11, Miramax exec VP of worldwide publicity Amanda Lundberg proposes that all the distribs of the foreign-language Oscar nominees rent a room to show the five nominated pics on a rotating basis until polls close on March 19. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences rules state that voters in that category must see all the nominees on the bigscreen.

Miramax, which has France’s “Amelie” in the race, faxed the letter Monday to First Look, which has Norway’s “Elling”; Sony Pictures Classics, with Argentina’s “The Son of the Bride” and India’s “Lagaan”; and United Artists, which has Bosnia-Herzegovina’s “No Man’s Land.”

Execs at the other distribs told Variety they’re probably not interested.

“We don’t want to be part of Miramax’s Academy campaign,” said one. “Everybody’s following the (Academy) rules as written, and the voters have had more exposure to the nominees than ever before.”

Lundberg said, “We’re trying to be magnanimous. We think it’s everybody’s responsibility to open this up for as many Academy voters as possible.”

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