At first, I thought the headline on this article was a joke: “Oscar Screener Ends Up on Internet.” It seemed about as likely as “Britney Spears Song Found Online” or “Copy of Photoshop Downloaded By Someone Who Didn’t Pay for It.”
But apparently, the Academy is stating that this is the first time ever that an Oscar screener was found on the Internet. Is that possible? Last year, DVD-ripped copies of nearly every major Oscar contender were available online, with almost all of them marked and tagged as “Screener.” The Pianist, Frida, Gangs of New York, About Schmidt and Road to Perdition, to name a few. This year, files claiming to be screeners of many potential nominees are being routinely swapped via the usual networks.
So is this just more obfuscation from an industry in denial, or is it possible that every one of those downloads originated from other sources?
Also, the liability form that Academy voters are required to sign is interesting:
I agree to ensure that I know, at all times, the whereabouts of all screeners sent to me under this agreement… I agree not to allow the screeners to circulate outside of my residence or office. I agree not to allow them to be reproduced in any fashion, and not to sell them or to give them away at any time…. I agree that a violation of this agreement will constitute grounds for my expulsion from the Academy and may also result in civil and criminal penalties.
Veteran actor Carmine Caridi now faces expulsion from the Academy, most likely for letting his grandkids borrow his copy of “Something’s Gotta Give.”