Buzz surrounding Oscar hopeful unfounded

The wire services this week have been abuzz with stories that Israeli delegates have asked Oscar to stop calling “Paradise Now” a film from Palestine and re-label it as being from the Palestinian Authority.

They’re interesting rumors, but they’re not true.

A spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said the org has received no official requests concerning the film.

There are a lot of Internet and email petitions about the film (which is distributed domestically by Warner Independent), many insisting that it be considered from the Palestinian Authority and asking Web users to petition the Academy.

The Acad has already pleased and displeased both sides of the debate.

On Oscar nomination day, the org’s official list of nominations listed the film as being from Palestine. But a separate release, dubbed “Oscar nominations fact sheet,” said “Paradise Now” was from the Palestinian Authority.

The Hany Abu-Assad-helmed pic concerns Palestinian suicide bombers and some Web buzz blasts the film for humanizing them. Abu-Assad has said the film is intended to open up a dialogue.

In 2002, the Palestinian pic “Divine Intervention” was submitted to the Acad but was turned down. The Acad usually goes by the United Nations list of member countries, but makes exceptions, such as Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Acad said it rejected “Divine” because the pic had not been submitted by an official org and had not played for a week within any Palestinian territory.

The following year, the Elia Suleiman-directed film was submitted again, after meeting the Acad’s requirements. This time, the Acad accepted “Divine” for consideration, but the pic didn’t get a nomination.

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