Friday, February 26, 2010

Nicolas Chartier Tries To Put THE HURT on AVATAR's Oscar Chances! Landau Responds...

Jim here. If you are not aware of Nicolas Chartier's enormous Oscar blunder here is your chance to catch up. Chartier is a producer of THE HURT LOCKER and he took it upon himself to mass email many if not all his contacts (not sure which) in an effort to sway their votes - and their friends of friends' votes.

Trouble is, this is all very illegal activity with the Academy. You simply cannot ask for votes, let alone mass spam everyone in your network. Further, you can't ask your network to ask THEIR network to do the same! The Oscars are all about which movie is generally voted as being the best and is not a social networking driven affair - despite the politics that are involved. I see "For Your Consideration" ads everywhere, but I suppose they are regulated and treated much as political election campaigns are run.

Here is what he said in his email (via
LA Times):

From: "Nicolas Chartier" Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010

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 whethere 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

Of course once this hit the LA Times it was game over and he quickly "apologized":

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

Chartier pleads ignorance. I say that is a load of you know what. I think they were trying to bend the rules with today's social networking technology. I suspect even using Facebook would lead you to trouble with the Academy - which THE HURT LOCKER team has done apparently.

Chartier goes even further than begging for votes: He denounces AVATAR as a $500m movie and that indie films should get more attention. Right. This is coming from a producer no less. Not a grip from the film. My opinion is if a movie warrants attention, it will get it. Head(s) should roll for this clear violation.

For the year 2009, there is only one movie that has captured the world's attention like NONE other in history. No other movie that has revolutionized Hollywood for not only stereoscopic 3D, but for performance capture and crossing the "uncanny valley". We all know it is AVATAR.

So what would you think Cameron's reaction would be to this?
I don't really know (other than the mutual admiration of work between Cameron & Bigelow) - but we DO KNOW what Jon Landau's (Producer - AVATAR, TITANIC) reaction is:

I fall squarely on AVATAR's side here of course. But really that is beside the point. $2.5 billion in box office essentially forgives practically ANY cost the film incurred in its making, not that he should be denouncing anything that any other movie has done. And $500m has not even been proven. He doesn't even mention Bigelow or the others who are up for awards here. It is as if it is his own movie.

I find the whole thing very, VERY ugly.
The only positive coming out of this is the class act response from Jon Landau.

Thanks to Jo for sending in the heads-up of the Jon Landau comments on the situation!

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