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In recent weeks, a clamor has begun surrounding Duncan Jones' sci-fi story Moon and the impending Academy Award nominations. Despite fan petitions to nominate Sam Rockwell's performance for Best Actor and complaints by Jones himself via his Twitter account, Sony has refused to send out screeners of the film, which will most likely leave the film snubbed when Academy voters make their final decisions. Many have been left slack-jawed by the move, as more than a few critics mentioned the film in their best of 2009 lists. Now Sony has commented on the situation, and it is more than a little confusing.
In an article for Movieline, a Sony rep was quoted saying the following:
“The DVD and Blu-ray come out on Jan. 12 — next Tuesday — and it was felt that to preserve the integrity of the film, we didn’t want to send screeners. We’re concerned about piracy. The thing about Moon is that its particular genre is very predisposed toward being uploaded onto the Web. We really just wanted to protect that aspect of it. It’s a simple as that. […] A lot of publicity for Moon is coming out next week. Hopefully that will remind all the consumers, all the readers — and especially any awards folks — that this terrific title is out there.”
Just for the sake of clarification, I will do my best to paraphrase: Geeks like sci-fi. Geeks also like to pirate movies. We don't want geeks to pirate the movie, so we're not going to try and grab the free promotion that comes with an Oscar nomination to avoid it. Also, Sony is releasing the equally-pirateable DVD next week (without those silly watermarks to boot) and hopefully Academy voters will see it on the shelf at Best Buy and think, "Huh, I remember hearing that this was a really good movie. I wonder why Sony never sent me a screener of it."
If that's really the thought process behind this move, it is a rather stupid one.