Fri, Oct 19, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Oscar organizers reject nomination for Lee blockbuster

AP , HONG KONG

Taiwan may be forced to drop director Ang Lee's (李安) new spy thriller Lust, Caution as its best foreign film Oscar entry because some key crew members were not locals.

Acting director of the Government Information Office's movie department Chen Chun-jer (陳俊志) said Oscar organizers rejected Lust, Caution as Taiwan's entry because it failed to meet requirements that at least some of the movie's personnel in cinematography, music, recording and costume design be locals.

"We and Ang Lee are disappointed. Lee has a good chance of winning an Oscar. This movie was also popular in Taiwan," Chen said, adding that the government respected the Oscar requirements.

Lust, Caution had made NT$208 million (US$6.4 million) in Taiwan as of Sunday, a result normally achieved only by Hollywood blockbusters, according to its US production company Focus Features.

Stanley Hung (洪述堂), head of Taiwan's Motion Picture and Drama Association, the body that decides on the nation's best foreign film Oscar entry, said the group has appealed the rejection.

Oscars spokeswoman Teni Melidonian said that organizers refused to accept the movie because "an insufficient number of Taiwanese participated in the production of the film," violating a rule that requires foreign countries to certify their locals "exercised artistic control" over their submission.

Lee is Taiwanese, as is script writer Wang Hui-ling (王蕙玲), but cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto is Mexican and composer Alexandre Desplat is French.

The movie is a US-China-Taiwan co-production. Lee said earlier the film was budgeted at US$12 million but he fronted another US$2 million. It wasn't immediately clear how much Taiwanese money is in the film.

Lee won the best director Oscar for the gay romance Brokeback Mountain last year, and his kung fu hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won best foreign film for Taiwan in 2001.

Lust, Caution, about the relationship between an undercover activist and the Japanese-allied intelligence chief in World War II-era Shanghai, won the top Golden Lion prize at Venice.

Taiwan may replace Lust, Caution with director Chen Huai-en's (陳懷恩) Island Etude, about a university student's bicycle tour of Taiwan.

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