"Hurt Locker" producer punished for Oscar violation

Tue Mar 2, 2010 9:04pm EST
 
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By Zorianna Kit

Los Angeles (Reuters) - "The Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier on Tuesday was denied attendance at the upcoming Oscar ceremony for sending an e-mail to Academy Award voters urging them to name his movie as best film.

In the e-mail, which was sent to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in late February, Chartier asked members to choose "The Hurt Locker" over what he described as "a $500 million film" -- a clear dig at "Avatar."

Though Chartier apologized for his move in a follow-up e-mail, the Academy deemed his initial actions a violation of their campaigning standards and punished him by stripping him of his Oscar ticket. Academy rules prohibit "casting a negative or derogatory light on a competing film."

Should "The Hurt Locker" win best picture at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 7, Chartier will still receive his Oscar statuette.

The punishment is ironic, considering the Academy rules state that only three producers are eligible to be awarded the best picture statuette. The rules also state that an additional producer can be added under extraordinary circumstances.

Director Kathryn Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal -- both of whom are also producers on "The Hurt Locker" -- and the film's third producer Greg Shapiro all lobbied for Chartier's inclusion. After deliberations, the Academy conceded.

"Hurt Locker" distributor Summit Entertainment, had no comment on the Academy's decision, and Chartier was not immediately.

(Reporting by Zorianna Kit; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)