Oscar 2008: The Reader–Four Producers Approved by the Academy

Jan 27, 2009–Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti and Redmond Morris have been approved by the Academy as the nominated producers for the Best Picture contender “The Reader.”  It's the first time in a decade that AMPAS has acknowledged so many producers for a single film.

When the nominations were announced last Thursday, the organization had “TBD” in place of a list of the film's producers.  The decision marks the first test of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' new ruling on producer eligibility.

A decade ago, the org declared that a maximum of three producers would be eligible, meaning such contenders as “The Lord of the Rings” films had to winnow their list down.

But after protests over the exclusion of producers from 2006's “Little Miss Sunshine,” the Acad decided that three is the max except in “a rare and extraordinary circumstance.”

The Academy said: “In the end, the committee determined that the circumstances of 'The Reader' — in which the two original producers (Minghella and Pollack) both died partway through the process — met its definition of 'rare and extraordinary' and that all four submitted individuals should be named as nominees.”

The Academy implemented its three-producers-or-fewer rule following the best picture win of 1998's “Shakespeare in Love,” when a platoon of producers, including Gigliotti, marched onto the stage.

In 2005, Bob Yari sued his fellow producers when his name was omitted from the list of “Crash” producers; that case was later dismissed.  In 2006, two of “Little Miss Sunshine's” three producers were omitted from the Academy's list of best picture nominees.

This year, when the Academy listed “The Reader's” producers as TBD, many speculated that the film's onetime producer Scott Rudin was making a bid to be reinstated. Rudin had his name removed from the movie's credits following a battle with producer Harvey Weinstein over the release date.