'Beasts of the Southern Wild' ineligible at SAG

Associated Press
FILE - This June 25, 2012 file photo shows Benh Zeitlin, director and co-writer of the movie "Beasts of the Southern Wild," arriving at the premiere of the movie at the Joy Theater in New Orleans. Zeitlin has been named the New Orleans Film Society's "Celluloid Hero" for his Louisiana-made indie film released in theaters nationwide this summer. The honor is bestowed to film industry stand-outs who have made significant contributions to the art of making films.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, file)
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FILE - This June 25, 2012 file photo shows Benh Zeitlin, director and co-writer of the movie "Beasts …

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The independent-film hit "Beasts of the Southern Wild" will be ineligible for the Screen Actors Guild Awards because it was not made under provisions of the union's contracts, guild officials said Monday.

The producers have until Oct. 25 to bring the film into guild compliance to become eligible for the awards, though that likely would mean paying the actors more money.

A spokesman for Fox Searchlight, which released the film domestically, said the company would not try to bring "Beasts" in line with SAG contract rules to qualify for the awards.

"We're baffled at the fact that the producers of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' failed to sign a SAG agreement as every other important film released this year did," said guild spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt in a statement. "We would love for the performers in this film to compete for a SAG Award. Celebrating such performances is what we're all about."

Director Benh Zeitlin cast locals in his film set in rural Louisiana, including his two stars, first-time actors Quvenzhane Wallis as a 6-year-old wild child, and Dwight Henry as her father.

"We appreciate and honor the spirit in which the film was produced and the way it was made," Fox Searchlight Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley said in a statement. "It's truly an original."

"Beasts" is a critical darling, winning top honors at the Sundance Film Festival, so sitting out the Jan. 27 SAG Awards will not necessarily hurt its Academy Awards prospects.

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