A judge on Tuesday denied Roman Polanski's motion to dismiss his 1977 rape case, but left a cracked-open window for the filmmaker to return this spring to try in person.

While Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza declined to dismiss the case outright with Polanski absent, he did acknowledge sharing the Oscar-winner's sense that "substantial misconduct" occurred during the trial 30 years ago. That misconduct was brought into relief over the last year by the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired; Espinoza set a May 7 date for his next hearing, at which time Polanski's attendance — "submit[ting] to the jurisdiction of this court," in his words — could hasten the dismissal he wants.

When asked by Polanski's lawyer what would happen to his fugitive client upon surrender, Espinoza declined to advise. Developing, as they say, but feel free at this point to cross Polanski off your surprise Oscar presenters list. Sorry.