Emerging from this year’s Sundance Festival as a clear Oscar front-runner, the low-budget indie Beasts of the Southern Wild suffered a major setback yesterday when the Screen Actors Guild of America deemed its cast ineligible for awards granted by the prestigious group.
The critically acclaimed film, which took this year’s Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, did not adhere to the terms of SAG-AFTRA’s Low Budget Feature Agreement, which requires the use of professional actors in film.
Beasts of the Southern Wild, which follows a girl named Hushpuppy struggling to survive a Biblically sized flood, cast local New Orleans citizens to serve as actors in the film. This development could spell disaster for Fox Searchlight who was amidst lining up the film for a major award-season run. SAG awards are considered a strong influence on Oscar voting and are a major stop on the way to the Academy Awards.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards are scheduled for Feb. 24.
To read the full exclusive story behind the decision, click here.