NEW YORK – Warner Bros. (search) reportedly is considering writing off the Oscar chances of the sci-fi epic "The Matrix: Reloaded" (search) so as not to hurt the Academy Award prospects of the sequel, "The Matrix Revolutions," due in November.
Both the studio and the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences (search) are grappling with the unique situation of two movies, shot back to back, being released during the same calendar year.
The original "The Matrix" won Oscars in the four categories for which it was nominated: editing, sound, sound effects editing and visual effects.
Oscar officials are cool to the idea that both of this year's "Matrix" (search) movies, released six months apart, be considered as one movie.
"Two separate releases with two separate marketing campaigns - even if they were [shown] together as one movie - would have to be considered two separate films," Academy executive administrator Rick Robertson told the Hollywood Reporter.
But the Academy has given Warner Bros. its blessing to use a legal loophole that lets a studio choose not to submit films for Academy consideration.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is considering withholding "The Matrix: Reloaded" from consideration so Academy nominators and voters can focus on "The Matrix Revolutions."
A similar solution was possible with Miramax's action thriller "Kill Bill," which was conceived as a single film before director Quentin Tarantino (search) and the studio decided to release it in two installments.
"Kill Bill Vol. 1" will be released in October, and Miramax briefly considered putting out "Vol. 2" for Oscar consideration before the end of the year.
"It looks pretty unlikely the second part will be ready before the end of the year," Miramax spokeswoman Cynthia Swartz told The New York Post.
This year's Oscar race will almost certainly include "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings," whose two previous installments were both nominated for the Best Picture Oscar - even though all three films of the trilogy were shot simultaneously.