he race between Oscar favorites"Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" is getting ugly. "Hurt Locker" producer Nicholas Chartier has caused an uproar by imploring Academy members, via email, to vote for his underdog film and not the "$500m movie ['Avatar']." Oscar rules forbid such shenanigans and, although Chartier quickly apologized for his move, claiming "naivete, ignorance of the rules and plain stupidity as a first-time nominee," some observers feel the damage is done. Will his mess-up hurt "The Hurt Locker"'s Oscar chances?
"The Hurt Locker" team just blew it: This was a mistake "on so many levels," says Sasha Stone at Awards Daily. Doesn't Chartier realize there's a system when it comes to "Oscar strategy"? Begging for votes never works. Voters want you to "play games and seduce them." This "ham-handed" gaffe has played right into James Cameron's hands, tipping the balance "in Avatar's direction."
"The Not-So-Calm Before The Storm"
The little-movie-that-could still could: Though Chartier's e-mail smacks of "desperation or panic," says Pete Hammond at the LA Times, it's hard to blame him for trying to start a "grass-roots campaign" in the face of the publicity blizzard that's been mounted to guarantee "Avatar" the Oscar. Whatever happens, "The Hurt Locker"'s "antiwar credentials" have already given it a "publicity-op" money can't buy.
"Are Oscar campaigns staying on message?"
Reality check — everyone in Hollywood engages in such tactics: Chartier's only crime is he getting caught, says Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood. This year's "Oscar campaign for media manipulation" has been the worst in living memory; everyone from "flacks and insiders" to "studios and filmmakers" has been busily badmouthing rival nominees for months. It's a dirty system that the Academy "hath wrought and doth [habitually] condone."
"Academy May Discipline 'The Hurt Locker'
SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S ACADEMY AWARDS COVERAGE:
• 10 reasons why 10 'Best Picture' nominations is a bad idea
• Top 4 'Avatar'-'Pocahontas' mash-up videos
• 'Avatar': Best Picture?
• 'Avatar' depression syndrome?
- The indignity of canine bath time
- Watch The Daily Show definitively prove that corporations are not people
- Why income inequality has become the Democratic Party's top issue
- How to make the perfect hot chocolate
- Is it possible to live forever?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why Americans care about Rob Ford's drug abuse but not Nigella Lawson's
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- No, Obama doesn't have to fire everybody in the White House
Subscribe to the Week