Creative Artists Agency found itself at the center of a controversy after taking out congratulatory ads in trade papers two days before the Academy Awards, claiming 32 of its clients had received Oscar nods when in fact half the people on the list weren't even nominated.
In the ad, CAA listed non-nominees Ewan McGregor for Moulin Rouge, Marton Csokas, Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Kristin Scott Thomas for Gosford Park, Ed Harris for A Beautiful Mind and John Goodman and James Coburn, who provided voices for the animated feature Monsters, Inc..
Although some of the clients had received Academy Award nominations in the past, the ad didn't mention the nominations weren't for 2001.
Academy President Frank Pierson told the Los Angeles Times Friday that the Academy tried to deal with the problem quietly but had no choice but to go public after CAA failed to put out a letter of apology.
The Academy spent thousands of dollars for full-page ads in both Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter Friday, calling the ad "wretched excess."
"It seems prudent to nip this form of enthusiasm in the bud, lest CAA or another even more enthusiastic entity decide next year to celebrate its clients by awarding several dozen of them not just nominations but actual Oscars, or Congressional Medals of Honor, or Nobel Prizes," the ad said.
Pierson told the Times, "We wanted to get it out that we don't like it. Maybe everybody should take a step back and think about what they are doing during the Oscar season."
The Academy, he said, plans to leave it at that. "I like the CAA. They're my agents."