The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was sued Tuesday over its decision to exclude the independent film "The Last Seduction" from consideration for the upcoming Oscar nominations.

Academy officials say the film is ineligible because it premiered on cable TV and not in a theater, a decades-old Academy rule that the lawsuit claims unfairly restricts the rights of independent filmmakers.The 14-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the Academy of engaging in anti-competitive business practices. Attorneys for October Films and ITC Distribution also asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the scheduled Jan. 13 mailing of the ballots for the Academy Award nominations to the AMPAS's 5,700 members.

A hearing on the motion for a restraining order was set for Dec. 21.

Academy President Arthur Hiller called the legal maneuvers "publicity stunts" and said the Academy has established rules to give the AMPAS a measure of control over the coveted awards.

"The suit by October Films and ITC represents the full flowering of a growing late 20th century American conviction that no one is responsible for his own actions," Hiller said. "ITC and October have admitted their failure to follow the simple and widely understood procedures for qualifying a picture for the Academy Awards."

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Films are eligible for Academy Awards consideration if they are longer than 40 minutes, shot on 35mm or 75mm film and run for at least seven days in Los Angeles County.

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