Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Beasts film breaks SAG awards rules

Benh Zeitlin directed Beasts Of The Southern Wild

The hit independent film Beasts Of The Southern Wild will be ineligible for the Screen Actors Guild Awards in the US because it was not made under provisions of the union's contracts, guild officials have said.

The producers have until October 25 to bring the film into guild compliance to become eligible for the awards, though that likely would mean paying the actors more money.

A spokesman for Fox Searchlight, which released the film domestically, said the company would not try to bring Beasts in line with SAG contract rules to qualify for the awards.

"We're baffled at the fact that the producers of Beasts Of The Southern Wild failed to sign a SAG agreement as every other important film released this year did," said guild spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt in a statement. "We would love for the performers in this film to compete for a SAG Award. Celebrating such performances is what we're all about."

Director Benh Zeitlin cast locals in his film set in rural Louisiana, including his two stars, first-time actors Quvenzhane Wallis as a six-year-old wild child, and Dwight Henry as her father.

"We appreciate and honour the spirit in which the film was produced and the way it was made," Fox Searchlight Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley said in a statement. "It's truly an original."

Beasts is a critical darling, winning top honours at the Sundance Film Festival, so sitting out the January 27 SAG Awards will not necessarily hurt its Academy Awards prospects.

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