When Best Picture nominations were announced last week, they included the names of the producers of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Milk," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Frost/Nixon." But the credits for "The Reader" had yet to be determined.
Academy rules allow for only three producers - except in "a rare and extraordinary circumstance" - to be nominated and potentially receive Oscar statuettes. Four producers - Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti and Redmond Morris - were listed on the credits form for "The Reader," a surprise Best Picture contender. Minghella and Pollack died during the making of the post-World War II drama.
The Producers Branch Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided this was, indeed, rare and extraordinary and all four would be included.
Inclusion or exclusion is a big deal which, in the past, created hard feelings among producers who felt they contributed to a movie but were left in their seats and empty-handed on Oscar night.
The 81st Academy Awards will be handed out Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center. Below is chef Wolfgang Puck with a preview of what the chocolate Oscars will look like at the Governors Ball. Photo by Richard Harbaugh, AMPAS.