Italian director and Cinecitta president Pupi Avati has withdrawn his latest film, The Heart Elsewhere from consideration as Italy's Oscar candiate, as a sign of protest against a "lack of transparency" at the country's Donatello Academy.

Avati's decision came after he learned that an extra 112 members had just been appointed to the 380-member Academy which votes for Italy's Oscar candidate as well as the country's prestigious Donatello awards.

The problem, Avati said, is that many of the 112 new members simply have nothing to do with cinema, and existing members of the Academy were not informed of their appointment.

"I wanted to protest against this lack of transparency, especially given my institutional role as president of Cinecitta," Avati told

Other industry members, including directors Nanni Moretti, Mario Monicelli, and Marco Risi as well as producer Domenico Procacci and Andrea Occhipinti, sent a letter of protest to Donatello Academy chief Gian Luigi Rondi.

Avati said the only way to ensure transparency would be to increase to 1,000, the number of jury members on the Academy, and ensure that they all have a role in the film industry.

"That way, the whole system would be much more transparent. There is such strong lobbying within the Academy as it stands, but with 1,000 jury members, there is no way any one particular group can control the voting," he said.

Meanwhile, Rondi said his decision to increase the number of members on the Academy was "legal and legitimate" and that the 112 new members had been put forward by producers, distributors and exhibitors.

Italy's front-runners for the Oscars include Gabriele Salvatores's I'm Not Scared, Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows and Marco Tullio Giordana's La Meglio Gioventu. All three have US distributors. The Italian Academy will announce its candidate on October 1st.