We have some awesome news for SAG members

As we all know, the Screen Actors Guild Awards are a big deal: major precursor to the Oscars, super prestigious, etc. This year, we at Fox Searchlight have decided to send out screeners to SAG members in a different way: through iTunes.

The decision sparked a mini-PR frenzy this afternoon, and here's what some of the industry press had to say:

The LA Time's Company Town column says:

The Hollywood awards screener is finally catching up with the digital age. In a first for the industry, Fox Filmed Entertainment will make three current releases from its Fox Searchlight movie unit that were nominated for Screen Actors Guild awards -- "Black Swan," "127 Hours," and "Conviction" -- available as free downloads from Apple Inc.'s iTunes to all of the acting guild's nearly 100,000 voting members.

The move could mark the first step in an industry-wide shift toward making digital copies of movies available to voters for all awards, eventually ending the costly, time-honored practice of producing and sending physical copies of their DVDs.

The Hollywood Reporter also posted a lengthy article, with quotes from Fox Filmed Entertainmet chair-CEO Jim Gianopulos:

In the past, piracy and prohibitive costs have prevented most studios from distributing screeners to all members of SAG. (Lionsgate was the exception when it sent out screeners of Crash to all SAG members. The film went on to win the Oscar for best picture.)

“We are thrilled at the nominations these fantastic films have received from this prestigious group, and while we would always prefer voters to see these films in theaters, we realize that this is not always possible, so we wanted to make sure as many voters as possible have the opportunity to screen them,” Fox Filmed Entertainment chair-CEO Jim Gianopulos said.

“iTunes enables us to make our films still in theatrical release available to a large number of important voters,” he continued.

SAG members will be able to view the films on their iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, MAC or PC, or with Apple TV on hi-def televisions.

Backstage Magazine had this to add:

"We've worked with Fox to bring their films to SAG members in an innovative way," said Apple vice president of Internet Services Eddy Cue, noting that SAG members will enjoy being able to view the films however they choose.

"Black Swan" received three SAG nominations, including for outstanding performance by a cast, outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role (Natalie Portman) and outstanding performance by an actress in a supporting role (Mila Kunis).

"127 Hours" star James Franco received a SAG nod for outstanding male performance in a leading role, while Hilary Swank was nominated for an outstanding performance in a leading role for her performance in Conviction.

If you're a SAG member, you can access the screeners at this link, with insructions on how to get your unique download code.

Stay tuned to Inside Searchlight for more Awards Season news, and make sure to check out our Tally Posts for awards updates on all our films.

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