"Hello, this is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."

"I'd like to buy some tickets for the Oscars."

"There are no tickets."

"There must be - how do all the people get in?"

"I can't help you, it's not my department. I'll transfer you."

(Muzak plays while call is transferred)

"Can I help?"

"I'd like tickets for the Oscars, please. Do you take American Express?"

(The line goes dead. The next call is connected to Tracy in publicity.)

"I'd like tickets for the Academy Awards please."

"There are no tickets."

"There must be, how does everybody else get in?"

"You have to be an Academy member, the tickets are not for sale. It is a private event."

"Do the members sell their tickets? I'll pay good money. Can't you put me in touch with someone who might need the cash?"

"No I cannot. The very idea."

"Can I join the Academy right now, would that help? I was in plays at school."

"No. Anyway, not every Academy member gets a ticket. We have 5,000 members and there are only 2,000 seats available for them. More want to come than we have seats available so we have a lottery."

"Can I buy a ticket for the lottery?"

"I really don't think there's any point continuing this conversation."

"How about sponsors, do they have tickets?"

"Yes, there are some, for the second tier."

"Which companies have tickets, maybe I have shares in one of them and they'll sell me a ticket?"

"You cannot buy a ticket to the Oscars. The Dorothy Chandler pavilion is a tiny auditorium. We couldn't make it a public event even if we wanted to."

(The line goes dead. Next call is to Frank Lieberman, personal assistant of the Academy president, Arthur Hiller.)

"Can I buy a ticket for the Oscars?"

"You cannot buy a ticket. You never have been able to, if a sponsor or a member sold you a ticket and they were caught they would be expelled."

"Could I buy yours?"

"I don't have a ticket myself. I'll be working."

"How about if I join the Academy, I'll make a large donation."

"That wouldn't help. You can only join if you are invited and that requires the recognition of your peers. I don't think you could manage that by Monday."