'Band' won't be visiting with Oscar

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The band has been bounced.

"The Band's Visit," which Sony Pictures Classics has acquired for North American unspooling, has been ruled ineligible as Israel's foreign-film entry in the Oscars.

The tale about an Egyptian police band stranded in a small Israeli town has more than 50% English dialogue and thus fails to meet standards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger said Thursday.

"I don't know if there will be an appeal, but we have clearly stated that the film is not eligible and have given them until early next week (to) pick another submission that would meet our requirements," Unger said.

"Visit" producer Ehud Bleiberg said an appeal definitely will be lodged with AMPAS.

"One hundred%," Bleiberg stressed. "A letter has already been sent by the (Israeli) Academy."

A big hit with Israeli critics, SPC plans to bow "Band's Visit" on Feb. 8. That would put the Eran Kolirin helmed-and-penned film in a limited number of locations slightly more than two weeks before the Oscars, set for Feb. 24.
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