AMPAS sues over ticket sales

Oscar org files suit against Arizona company

The organization that presents the Academy Awards is suing an Arizona company that it claims is selling tickets to this year’s show.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles on Monday to block Phoenix-based McMurry Inc. from selling a luxury ticket package to the Feb. 22 show. The seven-night package starts at $175,000, according to the lawsuit and McMurry’s Web site.

The Academy’s suit claims that McMurry plans to sell at least four of the high-end packages that promise pampering and a strut down the red carpet. It advertises a seven-night stay at a Bel Air hotel, access to celebrity stylists, and a camera crew to record the experience.

Oscar tickets are not transferrable, a policy the Academy says is aimed at keeping out stalkers and terrorists. The Academy considers people who use traded or bought Oscar tickets trespassers.

An e-mail sent to McMurry seeking comment was not immediately returned.

The academy has filed similar lawsuits in the past to block scalpers from selling seats and recently won a judgment in state court against people who sold tickets to the 2007 show.

Tickets for this year’s ceremony, which will be held at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater, have not yet been distributed, Academy attorney David Quinto said. It is considered the movie industry’s premier event, attracting the biggest names in acting, directing and film production.

He attributed the exorbitant price of this year’s tickets to the success of previous efforts to block ticket sales.

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