A producer of the war story "The Hurt Locker" will not be allowed to attend Sunday's Academy Awards because of e-mails he sent urging academy members to vote for his movie, The Associated Press reports.
But Nicolas Chartier will receive an Oscar at a later date if "The Hurt Locker" wins best picture. The executive committee of the producers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences imposed the penalty on Chartier, who violated Oscar rules that prohibit mailings promoting a film and disparaging another.
Chartier sent an e-mail Feb. 19 to some academy members asking for their support for "The Hurt Locker," "not a "$500 million film" - an obvious reference to blockbuster best-picture contender "Avatar."
Subsequent e-mails, posted by the Los Angeles Times, showed Chartier asking Oscar voters to rank "The Hurt Locker" at No. 1 and "Avatar" at No. 10 among this year's best-picture lineup of 10 films.
Chartier apologized in a subsequent e-mail.
"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.
He did not immediately return a call yesterday seeking comment on the academy's penalty. Officials at Summit Entertainment, which released "The Hurt Locker," declined to comment.
" The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" lead the Oscar field with nine nominations each. Chartier's penalty does not affect the other three producers, who are free to attend the Oscars.