In the latest move to protest the recent screener ban instituted by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has reluctantly decided to cancel their annual film awards.
"Unless there is a timely rescinding of the ban on screeners, LAFCA, with great reluctance, is compelled to cancel this year's voting on awards," the group said in a statement reported by Reuters.
Along with numerous other organizations, the LAFCA had already issued a condemnation of the MPAA's deal with major studios to stop sending out DVDs and videos of the year's releases for awards consideration in an effort to curb piracy.
The LAFCA says its decision to cancel the awards was not easy to make, but seemed the clearest way possible to show their frustration over the inequities of the industry policy. LAFCA president Jean Oppenheimer told Reuters that it took a long and heated debate during their regularly scheduled meeting Saturday to come to this final conclusion.
"Our members make every effort to see the films on the big screen," Oppenheimer said. "But the number of films that open from mid-November through December is [huge] and it's almost physically impossible to get to everything."
Oppenheimer said that is especially true if the critics want to see a film two or three times to firm up their choices, and often movies from the smaller, independent film companies are no longer playing in theaters by the time the film critics' association votes.
Variety reports the LAFCA statement does leave some possibility of proceeding with its awards if the MPAA backs off from their current position. In recent days, rumors have circulated about making compromises to the ban but nothing concrete has been established.