“The two scenarios are identical.” Nominated in five categories, the Christmas comedy Winter Break collected an award, that of best actress in a supporting role, crowning the American Da’Vine Joy Randolph. A success marred by an accusation of plagiarism, revealed Saturday evening on the eve of the ceremony.

Simon Stephenson, a British screenwriter who notably co-wrote the script for the Pixar cartoon Luca, approached the writers’ union (WGA) in January to complain about plagiarism, according to documents published by Variety. He accuses Winter Break of taking key elements of the plot of Frisco, a script that never made it into a film, and of copying certain scenes “line for line”. The screenwriter claims to be able to prove his accusations, with a file made up of “truly overwhelming” evidence.

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Winter Break tells the story of a pedantic and cantankerous professor, stuck for Christmas vacation with an insolent student and a grieving cook in an American boarding school in the 1970s. Frisco centered on a doctor tired of existence, forced to take care of a young patient of 15 years old. Alexander Payne and David Hemingson, the director and screenwriter of Winter Break, declined to comment.

David Hemingson is the only credited screenwriter for Winter Break. But Alexander Payne has previously explained that he helped develop the script, and that it was inspired by a French film from the 1930s discovered at a festival several years ago. “I am very aware that people often have surprisingly similar ideas and sometimes it is possible to borrow a few elements. That’s not the case here, Simon Stephenson wrote to the WGA, according to Variety. Both scenarios are legally identical and riddled with the same unique elements.”

The screenwriter, for example, highlights the similarities between one of the first scenes of the film, where the protagonist is reprimanded in his superior’s office for having wronged a politician. In Winter Break, this moment occurs because the professor graded the son of an American senator poorly. In Frisco, the doctor calls an American congresswoman, who is the mother of a patient, an idiot.

Winter Break was up for five Oscars on Sunday: Best Picture, Best Actor for Paul Giamatti, Best Supporting Actress for Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. The film ultimately only received one statuette, the one for best supporting actress. She had won all the precursor awards: SAG awards, Golden Globe, Bafta.