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'Buried' scribe apologizes for breaking Oscar campaigning rules

December 31, 2010 |  5:00 pm

BuriedA rep for "Buried" screenwriter Chris Sparling has apologized for his client breaking Oscar rules, claiming Sparling didn't realize he shouldn't campaign directly to academy members for a nomination for best original screenplay.

Sparling sent a letter to the members of the academy's writers' branch to tout his script's recent victory at the National Board of Review, adding, "I respectfully ask that you at least read the screenplay before casting your Academy Award vote for Best Original Screenplay. And while 'Buried' might not end up being your first choice (or even second or third), please consider it for fourth or fifth . We would be honored to land on your ballot for Best Original Screenplay."

Breaking the story, Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly called the ploy "one of the more brazen Oscar campaign tactics I've ever seen."

Academy rules state, "Mailings that extol the merits of a film, an achievement or an individual are not permitted. Mailings containing quotes from reviews about a film or achievement are not permitted, nor should they refer to other honors or awards, past or present, that have been received by either the film or those involved in the production or distribution of the film."

Sparling's claim that he wasn't aware of the Oscar rules seems far-fetched considering the scandal that erupted early in 2010 when "The Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier was caught campaigning via e-mail to voters. He was prohibited from attending the ceremony where his film won best picture. Most Oscarologists believe "Buried" is a long shot to be nominated by the academy, so Sparling probably won't be penalized.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Ryan Reynolds in "Buried." Credit: Lionsgate