From Jaws and Close Encounters through to War of the Worlds, Steven Spielberg movies have rarely had trouble connecting with audiences in the UK.

But the man who put a capital B into the contemporary blockbuster, whose films have grossed billions and whose name is usually the stamp of glorious cinematic success, has been humbled. By a button. Pushed, it seems, mistakenly.

This has had a profound effect on the director's latest opus, at least as far as the members of Bafta are concerned. By tomorrow they have to nominate the films they think worthy of accolade, and Spielberg's Munich was expected to be among them, tipped for awards both in Britain and at the Oscars.

But the preview DVD sent to the academy's members is unplayable on machines used in the UK. As a result the majority of Bafta's 5,000 voters will not have seen the film, due to be released in Britain on January 27, and can hardly be expected to recommend it for acclaim.

Guardian Unlimited Film | News | Spielberg loses out at the push of a button


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