In Brief

Hurt Locker producer banned from Oscars

Academy slaps down Nicolas Chartier for his anti-Avatar campaign

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Nicolas Chartier, one of the producers of The Hurt Locker, which many expect to take best picture at the Oscars on Sunday night, has been banned from attending the Academy Awards ceremony.

As The First Post's Christopher Goodwin explained on Monday, the Academy had to move swiftly after Chartier admitted canvassing Academy members. In a mass email-out he urged them to vote for The Hurt Locker and "not a $500 million film" - a none-too-subtle reference to Avatar, his film's main rival for the best picture Oscar.

Yesterday the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences announced that it had censured Chartier, who financed the $15 million Iraq war film himself, for an "ethical lapse". Academy rules state that filmmakers should not cast "a negative or derogatory light on a competing film".

As a result Chartier (pictured, far right, at the Baftas with fellow producers Mark Boal, left and Greg Shapiro, as well as director Kathryn Bigelow), with their Baftas for best picture.will be barred from the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles this weekend, although he allowed to collect a statuette later should The Hurt Locker win best picture.

Meanwhile to add to The Hurt Locker's woes in the lead-up to the Oscars, an army sergeant is suing the film's producers, claiming the main character is based on him. Master Sergeant Jeffrey S Sarver says screenwriter Mark Boal based "virtually all of the situations" in the film on events involving him.

Boal, a journalist, was embedded with Sarver's bomb disposal unit in Iraq. Sarver's lawyers plan to hold a news conference about what they describe as a "multimillion dollar suit" on Wednesday.

But as a Hollywood insider said today, "It seems the critics of The Hurt Locker want it both ways. Some of them are arguing that it's 'hokum', not based on real life at all. Now we have Master Sergeant Sarver saying it's all based on his real exploits."

• Read Christopher Goodwin's original report.

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