Hurt Locker pro­ducer given the Os­car boot

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

all seemed to be go­ing so well for The Hurt Locker’s Os­car cam­paign. A mon­t­hand-a-half ago, Avatar looked like the clear favourite for the best-pic­ture gong. Then, as we re­ported last week, wins at the Direc­tors’ Guild, Pro­duc­ers’ Guild and at the Baf­tas nudged Kathryn Bigelow’s war film level with her ex-hus­band’s fan­tasy smash. Now, it has emerged that Ni­co­las Chartier, one of Locker’s pro­duc­ers, has sent out an email urg­ing Os­car vot­ers to sup­port his small pic­ture and not – in an un­am­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to Avatar – “a $500m film”. Neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing may now be okay in pol­i­tics, but it is re­garded as very poor be­hav­iour at the Os­cars.

In such a close race, the bad feel­ing that has re­sulted could prove sig­nif­i­cant. Re­al­is­ing this, Chartier quickly per­formed a some­what undig­ni­fied volte face.

“My naivety, ig­no­rance of the rules and plain stu­pid­ity as a first-time nom­i­nee is not an ex­cuse for this be­hav­iour and I strongly re­gret it,” he said. “Be­ing nom­i­nated for an Academy Award is the ul­ti­mate hon­our, and I should have taken the time to read the rules.”

The re­can­ta­tion came a lit­tle too late and, in a near-un­prece­dented move, Chartier had been banned from at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony. For all that, the race still re­mains very close. Most book­ies – de­fy­ing all laws of prob­a­bil­ity – have both films odds-on to win. How does that work?

Who’s stay­ing home from the Os­cars? The Hurt Locker's di­rec­tor, Kathryn Bigelow, with co-pro­duc­ers Mark Boal, Greg Shapiro and Ni­co­las Chartier at the Baf­tas

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