- More than a dozen companies joined in the lawsuit against the movie studios’ trade group in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, saying the partial ban will “chill the financing of independent films” by limiting the awards they can receive.
“Awards and accolades beget more awards and accolades, which culminate for the awards season with the Academy Awards,” the lawsuit said.
….Last month, the Hollywood studios partially reversed the ban, agreeing to send copies to about 5,600 Academy Awards voters but not to the far larger pool that votes on lesser honors.
That means groups that present the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild awards, critics prizes and other movie honors will have to see films at theaters or at screenings arranged by studios. Oscar voters, meanwhile, can watch movies at home on copies sent by the films’ distributors.
….The lawsuit sought at least $25 million in damages and asked the court to find that the MPAA was conspiring to monopolize the film industry, restricting trade through unlawful and unreasonable agreements with its governing members.
….Awards analysts said screener copies boosted prospects for art-house films, which have grabbed an increasing share of Oscars in the last decade.
The lawsuit suggested that the prospects for successful independent films including “In the Bedroom,” “Gosford Park,” “Lost in Translation,” “Thirteen” and “Far from Heaven” would be harmed by a continued ban on screeners.
“If the ban is not lifted immediately, critical exposure, momentum and buzz opportunities will be irreparably missed,” it said. [AP]