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When the ominous words "nominees to be determined" accompanied the announcement of The Departed's nomination for Best Picture, industry tongues reflexively clicked, heads were gravely shaken in disapproval, and the eyes of vulnerable children were shielded as if in the presence of a well-endowed drifter who unexpectedly exposed himself near a grade-school crosswalk, for it seemed clear that Paramount emperor Brad Grey had appealed the Academy for a producer credit on the film of rival studio Warner Bros (a credit recently denied by the Producers Guild), a prideful sin compounded by the fact that his own studio's Babel is also in the race for the shiniest Oscar of them all. Today's LAT reports that Academy officials are keeping quiet on the matter of Grey's presumed petition, unconvincingly asserting that they have no idea why their fax machine has recently been clogged with missives from esteemed members of the Hollywood community noting that, "For like an entire year, Brad just wouldn't shut up about how much time he spent producing this Departed thing":

On Tuesday, academy spokesman John Pavlik confirmed that an executive committee of the organization's producers branch would meet this week to decide which producers would be given credit on two films, "The Departed" and "Little Miss Sunshine." That will determine who gets to leap to the stage to accept the Oscar on Feb. 25 should either film win.

According to one person close to the matter, the decision to review's Grey's credit was prompted by letters to the academy from prominent Hollywood figures lobbying on Grey's behalf. [...]

Immediately after the [producers] guild's decision to credit King as producer of "The Departed," Grey's camp inquired about the academy's appeal process.

Grey recently acknowledged to confidants that making an appeal could be tricky especially if "The Departed" ended up competing with a Paramount film, as turned out to be the case. But he also believed he deserved credit for launching "The Departed," a view shared by Scorsese and [producer Graham] King.

Antiquated ideas about studio loyalty aside, one can hardly blame Grey for seeking the measure of Hollywood immortality granted by an Oscar; unlike antediluvian Viacom master Sumner Redstone, who recently gave him a lifetime appointment to his Paramount gig, Grey knows he won't live forever, and that his best shot at being remembered will be for the clip of his awkward acceptance speech for a The Departed Best Picture win, in which he addresses the Babel crew with, "Wow, I really wish you guys could be up here with me now to share this. The next time we all do a movie together, I promise to campaign a little harder so that you can get a chance to experience how fucking incredible this feels."