Laurence Olivier's 1956 film of Richard III premiered on NBC Television the night before it opened in theatres.

Richard III's premiere on television was bitterly opposed by Olivier, but it was insisted on by the film's American backers when NBC paid $50,000 for the broadcast rights. The network advertised the film by noting the presence of Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Cedric Hardwicke in the cast and exclaiming "Yessiree! When do four good (k)nights equal three top TV hours?" The exposure the film received for the stunt was the reason given for Olivier's surprise Best Actor nomination.

Liv Ullman was exposed to similar circumstances in 1974, when her acclaimed performance in Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From A Marriage was disqualified for an Oscar nomination because it had premiered on Swedish television first. A letter to the Los Angeles Times was signed by a group of actresses (including ultimate nominees Gena Rowlands, Diahann Carroll and winner Ellen Burstyn) demanding that Ullman be made eligible for the award, but to no avail. Ullman told interviewers "Perhaps all those actresses campaigning on my behalf is more gratifying than the award itself."

Several documentaries and short subjects which have received Oscars and nominations premiered on television prior to their theatrical release, including The Sorrow and the Pity and Scared Straight!

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