Mario and Ana, in voluntary exile from Buenos Aires, live in a remote Argentine valley with their 12-year-old son Ernesto. Mario runs a school and a wool cooperative; Ana, a doctor, heads a clinic with Nelda, a progressive nun. Into this idealistic family comes Hans, a jaded Spanish geological engineer -- surveying the land for the local patron, to see if it can be dammed for hydro-electric power, which would drive the peasants from the land into the cities. Written by
Did You Know?
This is only the second film in the history of the Academy Awards (after the Bowery Boys movie High Society
) to have been nominated for an Oscar and then removed from the ballot. The director Adolfo Aristarain
had intended this to be Argentina's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film. When he took it to the Argentinean committee for submission he was told that Argentina had already decided on another film (Eliseo Subiela's The Dark Side of the Heart). Undaunted he went next door to the Uruguayan committee and offered it as Uruguay's official entry. This went against the academy's rule which states that the film must be directed, written, produced and cast with people from the country of the film's submission. The board submitted "A Place in the World" as Uruguay's official entry despite the fact that it was directed by an Argentinean, written by an Argentinean, produced by Argentineans, cast mostly with Argentineans and told the story of an Argentinean rancher facing off against an Argentinean hydroelectric plant in Argentina. Aristarain knew the rules but decided to submit the film because his wife was a native Uruguayan who had been the film's costume designer and had a hand in co-writing the screenplay. When the 1992 Oscar nominations came out, A Place in the World was among the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film (ironically, the film that Argentina submitted was not). The Academy's board of governors learned that the film was in violation of the rule after the nominations had come out and decided to remove it from the official ballot. Aristarain felt that the board was out of line and after failing to convince them to change their minds, he tried to sue on the grounds of "breach of contract". He lost the suit on the ruling that the Academy "has the complete, untrammeled ability to base the awards on whatever it wants". Angry at the ruling, Aristarain made the decision not to release the film in the United States. He relented and it did get a minor release in early 1995 (where it grossed $100,986). As for the Academy, in an effort to avoid this kind of problem again, they rewrote their official rules to make the submission process more mathematically sound. See more