Producer of Oscars favorite banned from ceremony

LOS ANGELES - A co-producer of Oscars best picture favorite "The Hurt Locker" has been banned from attending the awards ceremony after sending emails disparaging a rival film, it was announced Tuesday.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement French producer Nicolas Chartier was being barred from Sunday's showpiece awards show following an email scandal that erupted last week.

Nicolas Chartier
Nicolas Chartier
"Nicolas Chartier has been denied attendance at the 82nd Academy Awards as a penalty for violating Academy campaigning standards," the statement said.
The decision means that if "The Hurt Locker" triumphs on Sunday as expected, Chartier will not be able to take to the stage at the Kodak Theater to accept his statuette along with the film's three other producers.
Chartier had outraged Academy officials last week after it emerged he had sent emails to swathes of Oscar voters urging them to support low-budget Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" instead of a "500-million-dollar film."
Chartier's emails were seen as a direct attack on a best picture rival, James Cameron's big-budget science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" -- a clear breach of Academy rules which forbid negative campaigning.
Chartier was forced to issue an embarrassing apology for his initial email, describing it as "inappropriate and stupid."
"My email to you was out of line and not in the spirit of the celebration of cinema that this acknowledgement is," Chartier wrote. "I was even more wrong, both personally and professionally, to ask for your help in encouraging others to vote for the film and to comment on another movie.
"As passionate as I am about the film we made, this was an extremely inappropriate email to send, and something that the Academy strongly disapproves of in the rules.
"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's ban was announced shortly before the deadline for voting at Sunday's Academy Awards was set to pass at 5:00pm (0100 GMT)

Wednesday, March 3rd 2010

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