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'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

February 24, 2010 |  8:08 pm

Looks like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has clamped down hard on "The Hurt Locker" co-producer Nicolas Chartier for sending out an e-mail blast that urged colleagues to campaign aggressively for his movie to win the Oscar for best picture while it also trashed a rival film.

Chartier just issued a follow-up e-mail apologizing for his "extremely inappropriate" e-mail, which violated the Academy Awards' rules, adding, "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." See details of the academy rules here.

Oscars Academy Awards Hurt Locker news

On Tuesday, Pete Hammond reported on Chartier's first e-mail that blitzed Hollywood begging academy members to tell other voters to back "The Hurt Locker" and — in an obvious slam at "Avatar" — "not a $500M film."

The academy has not yet issued a statement about how it intends to deal with this severe violation of Oscar campaign rules. Penalties could be harsh, including the withdrawal of some tickets to the Oscar ceremony. Read more about possible penalties here.

Below is Chartier's original e-mail, followed by his apology e-mail.

I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to write you and say I hope you liked Hurt Locker and if you did and want us to win, please tell (name deleted) and your friends who vote for the Oscars, tell actors, directors, crew members, art directors, special effects people, if everyone tells one or two of their friends, we will win and not a $500M film, we need independent movies to win like the movies you and I do, so if you believe The Hurt Locker is the best movie of 2010, help us!

I'm sure you know plenty of people you've worked with who are academy members whether a publicist, a writer, a sound engineer, please take 5 minutes and contact them. Please call one or two persons, everything will help!

best regards,

Nicolas Chartier Voltage Pictures

The apology e-mail:

Last week  I emailed  you regarding the Oscars next week, generally, and
"The Hurt Locker," in particular.

My email to you was out of line and not in the spirit of the celebration of
cinema that this acknowledgement is. 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. Being
nominated for an Academy Award is the ultimate honor and I should have taken
the time to read the rules.

I am emailing  each person this very same statement asking  to retract my
previous email and requesting that you please disregard it.

I truly apologize to anyone I have offended.

Sincerely yours,

best regards,
Nicolas Chartier
Voltage Pictures, LLC


Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

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The comments to this entry are closed.


Avatar definitely got more #1 votes. But it might have been the fans of the other indie movies that dragged it down, not just Locker fans.

Could this be the reason Avatar lost? I will always wonder...

District 9 deserves the win but wont get it, which in my eyes is little more unfair than some e-mail.

Hilarious video I stumbled across about this Chartier email and oscar ban mess. Check it out

I hope he's better at producing movies than he is at writing.

Domestically, Avatar is a $700M film, not a $500M film. That's quite a difference.

I agree- no $500m cartoon should win best picture.Aside from the special effects, Avatar is a pedestrian effort at storytelling.

Who does the "Hurt Locker" producer think he's kidding with his apology? He's sorry because he got caught.


Please let all the Academy members you know know that Jan Troell's Here Is Your Life (Här har du ditt liv), the story of a wandering swedish projectionist in 1914 can be seen in San Rafael the first week of March and considered for best picture next year. Of course it was made in Sweden in 1966. There, does that get me banned from the Oscars for life?

Further proof "Hollywood" is littered with morons. For the record, Avatar was by far more entertaining than Hurt Locker (and this is the "entertainment business"). Bigelow should still win for best director, not best picture.

James Hickman, I don't really know how many consultants are now working on THL's Oscar campaign, do you? However, my understanding is that, as a lead-up to the SAG awards, the THL team didn't have enough money to send screeners to guild members.

I notice everyone assumes the comment was directed at just Avatar. However, two of the 10 BP nominations did that: Avatar AND Up. I'm sure everyone is assuming it's Avatar because of the ex- battle going on there, but I for one would like to see Up pull a "Crash" moment and come out of nowhere to win. One of the best films of the year and arguably the best Pixar has ever done (though Toy Story still has my heart).

Great job thumbs up! The movie will never win now not because of the email just because a lot of people would look really bad if it would. The only thing he can hope for is not getting banned totally (which should be done just to safe the last bit of credibility thats left). But it would be fun seeing his face on the screen, sitting around all the other people who worked hard on that movie, when he suprisingly not wins and the $500M film get's the oscar.

The Hurt Locker wasn't that great a movie.

I hope "Up in the Air" takes it all.

Outspent by $489 million dollars, but this lousy email gives them an unfair advantage? They should let this slide.

For the record... Nicholas Chartier is a film salesman, NOT a filmmaker. And I doubt that despite his claims to the contrary he had much to do with the creative process of bringing THL to the screen. My cow, Charlotte, produced the milk from which the butter that was eaten by the crew was made. Maybe she too should get a producer credit -- or better yet, the bull!

I'm totally rooting for Kathryn Bigelow to blow her ex-husband out of the water for Best Director.

If Chartier's idiocy kills Bigelow's win for Best Director, the dude's producing career is over. He'll be lucky to get a job busing tables in LA.

Not smart. But he was more brutal to the English language than Avatar.

What,what,what? David played dirty against Goliath? Indie frintrunner set to sweep all major Oscars smeared the blockbuster struggling to win Best SFX and one or two techs if lucky (because the indie is claiming wins there too)? What has the world come to? Just last year, movies that wouldn`t win tried to smear a movie that would. That was the practice for decades. You hit the losing streak, you smear the one on the winning streak. Desperate times, desperate measures. But this year is different. Now we have a projected winner smear one of the competitors. That`s beyond dishonorable since it`s the winner (therefore no reason to be desperate) that does the dirty thing to a loser. Sparkling vampire tactics,eh? Way to go Summit!

Personally, I don't find a single thing wrong with his email. He didn't "slam" anything. He didn't make one disparaging remark against the 2010 Ferngully remake (now THAT's more in line with a slam). The only reason people want that movie to win (I refuse to even write the title) is because they were so overly-stimulated visually that their brains are telling them it was actually good--that's the equivalent of a 5-year-old being fired up on the value of Mickey Mouse. The loud noises and colors are telling his mind he's entertained. Entertained=good to some. But "good" does not equal a "Best Picture." Hell, I don't even care if THL wins either. Someone needs to deflate the engorged ego of Cameron and his financial backers--I hope it's District 9.

I have a strong feeling this is only going to help Inglourious Basterds, not really Avatar. Dont be shocked to see the Basterds walk away with it at the end of the night, I reckon. Dirty thing to do though on the part of this dude, even though his intentions were not bad or anything, no need to be a poor sport. I bet Bigelow is pissed off at him though.

Stupid, stupid, stupid...well, here's hoping District 9 or Up win Best Picture!!

This kind of errant campaigning has been going on for decades -- it’s just that now we have e-mail to haunt us every time we hit “send.” I think most AMPAS voters who haven't turned in their ballots -- especially those who use e-mail -- realize this and remember their own foot-in-the-mouth moments.

More than anything, I’d guess, the justification inside Chartier’s head probably had something to do with the film’s lean campaign budget.

Certainly it’s a lapse in judgment -- not to mention an embarrassment, but I don’t see how it could have a substantive effect at this point.




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