News Article

News Article

'Buried' Gets Ballsy


Oscar ballots are going out right after the New Year, and Buried screenwriter Chris Sparling is making a hardcore push for his chiller to be considered.  Let's face it: genre pics are not well-received by the Academy to begin with.  But Sparling defied Academy rules by sending out a letter directly to voting members.  Hit the jump to check it out.

In the letter, Sparling writes,

Dear Screenwriter,

Here's your writing prompt.

You are to write a feature-length screenplay with only one on-screen character. This character is to remain in only one location for the entire duration of the film, and that one location must be a 2′ x 7′ wooden box. You cannot use flashbacks, cut-aways, or any other narrative device that would take the action outside that box.


The film based on your screenplay must be met by incredibly high critical praise. Roger Ebert must give it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and give it two thumbs up; Variety must remark that the film is "…an ingenious exercise in sustained tension that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud;" Jeffrey Lyons must describe the film you wrote as "Mesmerizing;" and you must be awarded Best Original Screenplay of 2010 by the National Board of Review.

Sound impossible? It's not. In fact, all this exactly describes the film BURIED.

Ballsy?  Yup.  Against Academy rules?  You bet.  Academy rules state "Brief cover letters may accompany screeners and scripts.  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."

The return address comes from the PR firm repping the film, mPRm.  mPRm president Marc Pogachevsky has apologized for the letter, claiming Sparling didn't know the rules and in the "pre-holiday rush, the company did not properly vet the letter."

But let's be honest: what chance did Buried actually have of getting a nomination?