Oscars Rap Producer for Electioneering
March 2 censure by motion picture academy below...
By Robert Marich
Feb 27, 2010 – An inexperienced Hollywood producer’s campaigning for his Oscar nominee ran afoul of Academy Award regulations because he instructed colleguages to minimize voting for Avatar so his film The Hurt Locker could win Best Picture.
Nicolas Chartier, one of four nominated producers for Best Picture nominee The Hurt Locker and whose main contribution was money, sent emails to friends that he believes votes for the Oscars. He urged them to vote in a way to undercut sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, which along with his Hurt Locker are front runners.
Just under 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are Oscar voters. The Oscars have a raft of rules rules prohibit overt electioneering and even prohibit voters to disclose in advance their selections, since that implies third-party endorsements.
“My naivete, ignorance of the rules and plain stupidity as a first-time nominee is not an excuse for this behavior and I strongly regret it,” Chartier wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press. “Being nominated for an academy Award is the ultimate honor and I should have taken the time to read the rules.” Hurt Locker is the drama about a bomb disposal team.
An Associated Press story says the academy is considering punishing Chartier, who is not a voter, including not extending academy membership that is normally automatic to producers of every Best Picture Oscar winner.
Because of prestige and money involved, abuse of rules occurs in Oscar balloting, despite academy efforts to stamp it out. This includes secret viral “whisper campaigns” that are mounted by backers of one film to derail chances of a perceived rival that is a front runner. Such a whisper campaign most notable targeted A Beautiful Mind in 2001 charging one aspect of the film was anti-semetic. The psychological drama won Best Picture anyway.
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PRESS RELEASE March 2, 2010 Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that, should “The Hurt Locker” be announced as the recipient of the Best Picture award at Sunday’s ceremonies, only three of the picture’s producers will be present for the celebration. The fourth of the film’s credited producers, Nicolas Chartier, has been denied attendance at the 82nd Academy Awards® as a penalty for violating Academy campaigning standards.
Chartier had recently disseminated an email 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. Academy rules prohibit “casting a negative or derogatory light on a competing film.” 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.
The group stopped short of recommending that the Academy governors rescind Chartier’s nomination. If “The Hurt Locker” were to be selected as Best Picture, Chartier would receive his Oscar® statuette at some point subsequent to the March 7 ceremonies.