February 28, 2010 in Nation/World

Academy may punish ‘Hurt’ producer

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is considering action against a producer of “The Hurt Locker” who sent multiple e-mails urging academy members to vote for his movie in the Oscar best-picture race and “not a $500 million film” – an obvious reference to close-competitor “Avatar.”

The e-mails by Nicolas Chartier, one of four nominated producers for “The Hurt Locker,” violated the academy’s rule against sending mailings that “attempt to promote any film or achievement by casting a negative light on a competing film or achievement,” according to academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger.

The initial e-mail was sent Feb. 19. Subsequent e-mails showed Chartier giving more specific instructions, asking Oscar voters to rank “The Hurt Locker” at No. 1 and “Avatar” at No. 10 on this year’s preferential ballot for the newly expanded best-picture category.

The motion picture academy will hold off on announcing how exactly it plans to discipline Chartier until Oscar voting closes on Tuesday.

Possible measures include public censure, taking away Chartier’s Oscar tickets, and the unlikely option of removing “The Hurt Locker” – about a bomb-disposal unit in Iraq – from best-picture consideration, according to several academy members familiar with the situation.

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