We last reported on the grassroots campaign to earn Sam Rockwell an Oscar nomination for his… er… role in Moon back in October. “Sony Pictures Classics isn’t likely to put money into an awards campaign” said Peter at the time.

Today, Duncan Jones has been all of a Twitter about the matter and it seems there’s one big problem in particular with Sony’s plans for the picture. Unfortunately, it seems that Sony won’t send out screener copies as, according to a Tweet by Jones, “they say it costs too much for our little film as they would need to be water-marked copies as our DVD isn’t out yet in the US.”

A ludicrous argument, really, as the UK BD is region free and in plentiful supply, besides, they wouldn’t benefit from making watermarked copies where there’s already perfectly good non-watermarked copies out there to be pirated. Copyright thieves know no borders and will rob Jones, Sony and everybody else associated with the film from any source. It’s not like they’re waiting for an R1 NTSC copy.

So, what is Duncan Jones planning to do himself?

There’s still an ongoing petition, designed simply to get attention from the Academy. At the time of writing it stands at 2,151 signatures, with many of them being famous names. Matt Berry, who appears in the film, is perhaps not a fully surprising signatory, but how about, say, Jim Jarmusch or Jon Favreau?

I’m not sure what good this petition might do, but for three seconds work surely it can’t hurt? If nothing else it could lead to more articles, like this one you’re reading now, or The Hollywood Reporter‘s blog post “Twitter storm stirring over missing screeners for Duncan Jones’ Moon

I suggested Academy screenings in NY an LA, as did Neil Gaiman apparently, which prompted Jones to tweet:

@brendonconnelly @neilhimself Great minds! well, we tried once, without much luck, but we can try again!

No indication that Sony would be paying for these screenings, of course. Surely they can afford that?

Beyond recognition for Rockwell’s performance it really would seem that the film has a shout at a nomination for Clint Mansell‘s incredible score. I’d like to see nominations for screenplay and director too but I know better than to expect such things from a big old, slow turtle like the Academy.

The question now is, really, what can we do? Is there anything the film fans can do to support Moon, Duncan Jones and by extension, similarly impressive yet under supported films and directors?

Well, signing that petition won’t hurt; telling people about the film won’t hurt either; better still, blogging, tweeting and Facebooking about Sony’s decision to not issue screeners would keep the issue in people’s minds and might just carry the campaign to critical mass. A real sharp solution, though, would be somehow contriving means by which members of the Academy could get to see the movie and that, unfortunately, would be the sort of thing Sony could do easily and folks like you and I would have no way to carry off.

Here are some suggested solutions for Sony:

  • Non watermarked copies of the disc. Some UK BD discs would be a good start.
  • A password protected streaming version of the film, online only for a limited period of time.
  • Academy screenings that are properly promoted and easily accessible.
  • Sharing the details of where Mansell’s soundtrack can already be legally streamed. Here in the UK I can listen to the whole thing, for free and with all due royalties paid, via Spotify. Putting the album on a MySpace page that can be listened to globally isn’t a bad idea either.

I think the resonances of a success here would be good for low-budget and independent film, genre film and smart sci-fi in particular. Can’t you see the headlines now? Of course, by success I don’t even mean a nomination for Rockwell or Mansell, but the wide availability of the film to members of the Academy. If they then decide that, actually, they’d rather nominate some other actor, some other soundtrack, then I can’t see Jones, or even fans of Moon like myself, would have any complaints. A fair shot on goal is all that can be reasonably asked for.

And, with a performance and a soundtrack like these, a fair shot on goal is probably all that is needed.

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