Nicolas Chartier, a producer of The Hurt Locker, was barred from attending the Oscars this year because he violated Academy rules by campaigning directly to the voters. He sent out this message in a mass e-mail:
"'If everyone tells one or two of their friends, we will win and not a $500 million 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!'"
Oscars are bought and sold. Trade papers before Oscar season are three times the size they normally are to accommodate the bombardment of "for your consideration" ads. I bought my first issue of The Hollywood Reporter when I was in middle school. It introduced me to the "for your consideration" ad and scarred me for life.
An Oscar means less each year so maybe this Chartier drama is a publicity stunt. It's Oscar's way of getting his name in the headlines. Maybe Chartier is playing martyr to get his e-mail printed in the trades. Why is campaigning directly to the voters against the rules anyway? The Weinsteins have spent billions on campaign advertising over the past two decades. People like the Weinsteins are threatened that a grass roots approach might be more effective than glossy magazine ads so they ban guerilla marketing. Oh well. Let Hollywood throw its poop around.
Oscars are like mock elections in high school.