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An Oscar First: Nominated Film is Disqualified

February 26, 1993

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An Academy Award-nominated foreign film was disqualified from consideration Thursday, the first time a movie has been barred from the Oscars after a nomination, officials said.

″A Place in the World″ was nominated Feb. 17 as one of the five foreign- language films. It was submitted for nomination by Uruguay, but the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences ruled that the film was essentially a product of Argentina.

″It’s the first time in academy history a film has been declared ineligible at this point in the awards,″ academy spokesman Bob Werden said.

Academy officials said Uruguay did not understand the rules for submission; ″A Place in the World″ was the nation’s first submission.

Called ″Un Lugar en el Mundo″ in Spanish, the movie was filmed in 1991 in Argentina, directed by an Argentine, Adolfo Aristarain, and financed largely by Argentines.

It made its debut in Buenos Aires in April 1992 and won the prize as Argentina’s best film of the year. It also won the Concha de Oro (Golden Shell) at San Sebastian, Spain, last September.

″A Place in the World″ was offered to Argentina’s National Film Institute for nomination to the Oscars as best foreign film. The institute, however, backed ″El Lado Oscuro del Corazon (The Dark Side of the Heart)″ by Eliseo Subiela.

Aristarain offered the film to represent Uruguay because his wife, Katy Saavedra, is Uruguayan and she co-wrote the script along with Alberto Lecchi, an Argentine.

Although these and other Uruguayans worked on ″A Place in the World,″ it was not a true co-production between the two nations, as academy rules permit.

″If the creative team had been made up of significant numbers of Uruguayans along with a group of Argentine filmmakers, we would have had no problem,″ said Fay Kanin of the academy’s foreign language film committee.

″But the only Uruguayans were the costume designer, who also had a partial story credit, and the fifth-billed cast member. Everything else about the picture is Argentine.″

Robert Rehme, the academy’s president, noted that ″A Place in the World″ is still a first-rate film worthy of attention.

″This is the kind of picture we like to discover and to call the world’s attention to,″ he said.

The movie is about a middle-aged husband and wife from Buenos Aires trying to attend the needs of people in a rural town. It is not yet set for release in the United States.

In 1969, the makers of the Oscar-winning documentary ″Young Americans″ had to forfeit their statuette. The film was nominated as a 1968 release but in fact had been shown in a remote North Carolina theater in 1967, disqualifying it, Werden said. ″Journey Into Self″ was given the documentary Oscar that year.

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