Oscars: Is 'Matrix' One Movie or Two?

08/19/2003 at 03:42 PM EDT

When it comes to this year's Oscar competition, Keanu Reeves and the Wachowski brothers could conceivably compete against themselves in "The Matrix Reloaded" and its sequel "The Matrix Revolutions." Meanwhile, "Kill Bill Vol. 1" director Quentin Tarantino could be slugging it out with the director of "Kill Bill Vol. 2" -- himself.

The situation is considered unprecedented by Academy officials, according to the Hollywood Reporter, acknowledging that the "Matrix"'s and "Kill Bill"'s respective studios, Warner Bros. and Miramax, are trying to figure out how to maximize their Oscar chances as movie audiences see double. (Warners, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.)

Because the two "Matrix" movies were shot continuously within a 240-day period by the same filmmaking team, Warners could argue that the Academy should consider them as one movie. (Okay, one movie with a six-month intermission, the trade paper concedes.)

The first "Matrix," in 1999, was nominated and won Oscars in four categories: editing, sound, sound effects editing and visual effects. If Warners enters both "Matrix" movies in this year's race, it theoretically could win two nominations in a given category, since both halves would have to be treated as individual films.

As for "Kill Bill," an assassination drama that stars Uma Thurman as a vengeful bride, there reportedly have been discussions of releasing "Vol. 2." by itself in time for Oscar consideration, as well as reconnecting "Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2" for an Oscar qualifying run as one movie.

But, should "Vol. 2" play in Los Angeles by Dec. 31 (the Oscar cut-off date), Miramax would then find itself in the same situation as Warners: one picture or two?

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