Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2010: Breaking Updates
First, The Hurt Locker, heretofore the #1 contender against James Cameron's Avatar, has been dealt a potential body-blow with the Academy's announcement that producer Nicholas Chartier has been stripped of his priveleges in terms of attending Sunday night's ceremony. According to theWrap.com's Steve Pond, Chartier, an independent financier who had raised the money to help director Kathryn Bigelow --- Jim Cameron's ex-wife --- make The Hurt Locker, and who would have been excluded as a nominee anyway had the Academy not made an exception to its rules, allegedly sent a series of e-mails suggesting that Oscar voters should choose his movie over "the $500 million film."
The obvious reference to Avatar was in direct violation of the Academy's bylaws, which strictly forbid any derogatory references to other nominees. (Fox spokesfolks have since disputed the $500 mil figure.)
From the Academy's press release announcing their action:
"Mr. Chartier had recently disseminated an e-mail to certain Academy voters and other film industry figure in which he solicited votes for his own picture [The Hurt Locker], and disparaged one of the other contending films [Avatar]. Academy rules strictly prohibit 'casting any negative and/or derogatory light upon a competing film.' The Executive Committee of the Academy's Producers' Branch, at a special session late Monday afternoon, ruled that the ethical lapse merited the revocation of Mr. Chartier's invitation to the Awards."
The ruling did not affect the film itself, or Miss Bigelow, or the film's other two producers --- screenwriter Mark Boal and co-producer Greg Shapiro. Without evidence to suggest the other filmmakers, the film's distributor, Summit Entertainment, or Summit's public relations representative had some idea about Chartier's e-mails, the Committee, said one insider, drew "a very clear dividing line between Chartier and the rest of the filmmakers."
Reportedly, the Committee considered rescinding Chartier's nomination, but decided against taking such a step. Should The Hurt Locker win Best Picture, however, Chartier would receive his Oscar statuette at a later date.
In a related Avatar development, New York Magazine's NYMag.com/Vulture reports that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, famous as the man behind comic strange guys Borat and Bruno, has been eliminated from the official list of presenters at Sunday night's show. The Vulture report quotes an Oscarcast insider as saying that an Avatar-inspired skit, to be performed by Cohen and Ben Stiller, was nixed on the orders of telecast co-producer Bill Mechanic, who worried that the skit might anger James Cameron to the point where he could potentially walk out of the Kodak Theatre.
The skit would have featured Cohen onstage as a blue-skinned, female Na'vi, with Stiller translating "her" interplanetary dialect. As the skit continued, it would have become clearer that Cohen's character would become more upset. At its climax, a furious Cohen would have pulled off "her" evening gown, revealing that s/he was pregnant, knocked up with Jim Cameron's 'love child,' and would go on to confront her 'baby daddy' as if s/he were gonna be on the next Jerry Springer.
Mechanic, as you know, was the #1 man at Fox when Cameron's Titanic went legendarily over budget and over schedule, so he was most acquainted with Cameron's sense of humor --- or lack thereof. "Let's just say that Cameron isn't known to be, shall we say, 'self-deprecating'," the insider said.
While Oscar media powerhouse Toni Thompson confirmed that Cohen was no longer presenting, the comedian, via spokesperson Matt Labov, cited "creative differences." "Nothing acrimonious," Labov said, "but both sides felt that, since they couldn't agree, [Cohen] might as well just stay home in London." Mechanic himself was unavailable for comment.
I am starting to think, dears, that Avatar is becoming a bigger monster that the Academy can apparently handle. Titanic was a walk in the park; but THIS --- this is a far huger, far more powerful leviathan than anyone at Academy Headquarters could ever imagine! Well, we'll all find out just how powerful the said leviathan is on Sunday. Be there!