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'Hurt Locker' producer banned from Oscars

The film academy penalizes Nicolas Chartier for his anti-'Avatar' e-mail.

March 03, 2010|By Steven Zeitchik

For the first time in its history, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has banned a nominee from attending the Oscars.

The group said Tuesday that Nicolas Chartier, a producer on best picture candidate "The Hurt Locker," will not be allowed into the Kodak Theatre for Sunday's ceremony. Chartier's tickets have been revoked, and he will not be granted entry as a guest of any other attendee, an academy spokeswoman told The Times.

The decision comes on the heels of Chartier sending an e-mail message to a group of colleagues that included academy members asking them to choose the Summit Entertainment-distributed "The Hurt Locker" for best picture and "not the $500-million film" -- a clear reference to "Avatar."

The message was deemed in violation of the academy's ban against creating a negative impression of a rival nominee.

Chartier subsequently apologized for his actions.

"Chartier had recently disseminated an e-mail to certain academy voters and other film industry figures in which he solicited votes for his own picture and disparaged one of the other contending films," the academy said in a statement. "The executive committee of the academy's Producers Branch, at a special session late Monday, ruled that the ethical lapse merited the revocation of Chartier's invitation to the awards."

Should the film win best picture, Chartier would be given his Oscar at a later date.

The academy stopped short of the more draconian penalty of disallowing the film from competing for Oscars. Still, the move was unprecedented. While studios have previously had their overall allotment of tickets reduced because of campaign violations, no individual nominee had previously been forbidden from attending.

Chartier was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

steve.zeitchik@latimes.com

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