Outlandish Oscar Rules Force Film Arguing For Polanski's Exoneration To Wait for Cable TV

We'll call this Confounding Oscar Reality #259: A tipster tells us today that the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, which painstakingly makes the case that Polanski's conviction for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor was a travesty, has opened theatrically after leaving Sundance in January with a $1 million dollar deal and loads of acclaim. But wait — why are we hearing this from a tipster? Where is the marketing? Where are the reviews? Where is the heated discussion about the Polanski case? Thanks to Academy Award rules and a fickle distributor, that might have to wait. Follow the jump to find out why.

Outlandish Oscar Rules Force Film Arguing For Polanski's Exoneration To Wait for Cable TV

HBO Documentary Films purchased Wanted and Desired for $1 million out of Sundance, planning a cable premiere and a DVD release — but no theatrical run. Except that to qualify for an Oscar, you have to screen "for a minimum of seven days in both Los Angeles County and the Borough of Manhattan." We don't know what to tell you about Los Angeles, but we know now — thanks to an eagle-eye who pointed out the microscopic newspaper ad above — that HBO is protecting its audience for the June 9 cable premiere and keeping its Oscar hopes alive by dumping it in the farthest reaches of Upper Manhattan for the bare minimum two afternoon screenings per day.

An HBO rep contacted by Defamer had no word on Los Angeles screening location or dates, so we're not sure if you've missed it already or not. Check your local listings, we suppose. In any case, we know docs are a tough sell these days, but either way: This isn't exactly the kind of treatment supposedly Oscar-worthy films deserve, is it?

UPDATE: A resourceful tipster sends word that Wanted and Desired is in fact currently screening in Pasadena at the Laemmle One Colorado through April 3 at the convenient hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.