Nicolas Chartier and the other producers of "The Hurt Locker"

The producers of "The Hurt Locker" [including Nicholas Chartier, far right] after winning the BAFTA Award for Best Picture last week.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

'Lockergate' takes a dramatic turn as 'Hurt Locker' producer banned from Oscars

Nicolas Chartier may have irrevocably scarred his career

The consequences of what's come to be known as the "Lockergate" scandal took a dramatic turn today when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled to deny entry to the 82nd Oscars to nominated producer Nicolas Chartier.

Read Full Post
The brand new poster for Nicole Holofcener's Please Give with Catherine Keener

The brand new poster for Nicole Holofcener's Please Give with Catherine Keener.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Exclusive: Catherine Keener in the poster debut of 'Please Give'

Nicole Holofcener's latest dramedy hits theaters this April

January's Sundance Film Festival was a curious experience.  Every few years the films outside of dramatic competition, pictures that usually already have distribution, overshadow the festival's premier showcase.  That was certainly the case this year, especially with the debuts of the dramedies "Cyrus" and "Please Give."

The latter in particular was another welcome surprise from director Nicole Holofcener who is best known for her last film "Friends With Money" (thank you Jennifer Aniston).  Starring Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and Rebecca Hall, the picture centers on an upper middle class married couple in Manhattan (Keener, Platt) who have awkward relationships with the granddaughters (Hall, Peet) of the old woman who is renting the apartment they are dying to renovate (once she dies off of course).  You can read more about my thoughts on this hilarious and impressive film here, but happily it will be heading to theaters later this spring for everyone to enjoy. 

Read Full Post
Chris Pine will present at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Mr. big head's come a long way. Chris Pine will present at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Captain Kirk, Jake Sully and Green Lantern are going to the Oscars

Chris Pine, Sam Worthington and Ryan Reynolds are heading to the big show

The Academy still hasn't coped to HitFix's exclusive that Oprah Winfrey will be attending this year's Academy Awards, but they did make an announcement that should make geeks and the ladies excited. 

Hitting the Oscar stage this year to present for the first time will be Chris Pine (aka Captain Kirk from "Star Trek"), Sam Worthington ("Avatar," "Terminator Salvation," etc.), Gerard Butler (Mr. "300"), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool in "Wolverine" and soon to be "Green Lantern"), Bradley Cooper (the guy from "The Hangover" who missed out on playing Lantern) and, um, fashion icon and newbie film director Tom Ford.

Also making his third appearance is former nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (soon to be swashbuckling in "Prince of Persia") and none other Neo himself, Keanu Reeves (yawn).

With Robert Downey, Jr. also in attendance it will make this year's Academy Awards quite the heroic affair.

The 82nd Academy Awards will be held at the Kodak Theater on Sunday, March 7 at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT.  Look for complete coverage all day on HitFix.

To find a complete list of this year's nominations, click here.

For the latest Oscar and Entertainment news, follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.

Read Full Post
The Hurt Locker is a strong contender for Best Film Editing.

"The Hurt Locker" has already won the ACE Editing Award for Best Editing - Drama. Can it win the Academy Award as well?

Credit: Summit Entertainment

2010 Oscar Preview: Will Best Editing predict Best Picture again?

'Hurt Locker' and 'Avatar' square off in an early award

There is a saying that so goes Best Editing, so goes Best Picture.  OK, well, maybe that's a stretch, but there is a belief by many that if a film has the backing of the Academy in editing, it will win Oscar's biggest prize at the end of the big show.  Over the last decade, however, that hasn't always been the case. 

Since 1999, Best Editing has only duplicated the Best Picture winner five out of ten times: "Crash," "Chicago," "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Departed" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." The films that bucked the trend? "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), "The Aviator" (2004), "Black Hawk Down" (2001), "Traffic" (2000) and "The Matrix" (1999).  More intriguing, the American Cinema Editors ACE Award for Editing has only deviated from the eventual Academy Award winner once in that same time span when "Gladiator" surpassed "Black Hawk Down."  This year's eligible winner?  "The Hurt Locker."

Read Full Post
Oprah Winfrey returns to present at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Former nominee Oprah Winfrey returns to present at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Exclusive: Oprah Winfrey headlines Oscar show presenters for Best Actor and Best Actress

The five are back, but who is presenting to whom?

This year's 82nd Academy Awards show should be an intriguing mix of old and new, but one of the most successful aspects of last year's critically lauded show appears to be receiving a strange makeover.

The 81st Academy Awards featured the innovation of having five former winners present each acting award to that year's nominee class.  It was a classy move that effectively had the previous winners "welcoming" that year's recipient into the Academy "club," while praising each nominated performance.  The reveal of each former winner -- secrets the producers did everything to try and protect -- also created a sense of excitement as the show progressed and was visibly moving to many of the nominees in the audience.

Read Full Post
Robert Downey, Jr. at the 2010 Toy Fair

"Iron Man" star Robert Downey, Jr. at the 2010 Toy Fair with the hero who has transformed him into one of the biggest stars in the world.

Credit: AP Photo/Hasbro, Ray Stubblebine

Will Barbara Streisand or Robert Downey, Jr. present the Oscar for Best Picture?

Academy announces more big names for Sunday's big show

As interest in this Sunday's 82nd Academy Awards heats up, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced more presenters today for the big show.  Headlining the star-filled group was none other than former Oscar winners Barbra Streisand, Kathy Bates and Charlize Theron, two-time nominees Robert Downey, Jr. and John Travolta and singular honorees Queen Latifah and Samuel L. "I never met an awards show I couldn't attend" Jackson.

Read Full Post
James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow at the 15th Annual Critics Choice Awards

James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow at the 15th Annual Critics Choice Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

2010 Oscar Predictions: History awaits Kathryn Bigelow

Best Director won't be affected by 'Lockergate'

All of Hollywood is a buzz over "Lockergate," the "scandal" where "Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier broke Academy rules by sending E-mails to members asking them to vote for his Best Picture nominee.  Coming out just a week before member votes are due on Tuesday, March 2, it has cast doubt among many that "Locker" can upset "Avatar" in a David vs. Goliath match up for Oscar's most prestigious award.  One race where this controversy should have no bearing, however, is Best Director.

Read Full Post
Mo'Nique

Mo'Nique backstage after winning Best Supporting Actress at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Mo'Nique defies media criticism to find Oscar in her sights

2010 Oscar Predictions continue with Best Supporting Actress

When this pundit attended the world premiere of "Precious," then known as "Push," at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the entire audience knew the actress and comedienne known as Mo'Nique had delivered a career-defining performance.  To be blunt, it was jaw-droppingly unexpected.

As perhaps one of the most hateful mothers in modern screen history, Mo'Nique accomplished almost the impossible in making the audience teeter on the verge of sympathy for a character you'd grown to hate. It was a role that everyone in that theater knew would be an Oscar player. However, as the days and months progressed, it was clear there was very little competition that could match the intensity of Mo'Nique's work.  But then the media reared its ugly head.

Read Full Post
From left to right, Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, producer Greg Shapiro and producer Nicolas Chartier pose with their BAFTA wins for Best Film for "The Hurt Locker."

From left to right, Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, producer Greg Shapiro and producer Nicolas Chartier pose with their BAFTA wins for Best Film for "The Hurt Locker" last Sunday night in London.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

'The Hurt Locker' may have destroyed its Best Picture chances

Producer's rule-breaking E-mails could benefit 'Avatar'

Somewhere this weekend executives at Summit Entertainment and their Academy Awards consultants are sweeping the floor of all the hair they pulled out after a week of bizarre and possibly game-changing events in the Best Picture race.  In one of the stupidest moves ever, Nicolas Charier, one of the officially accredited producers of "The Hurt Locker," sent out E-mails to friends and their acquaintances (ie, friend of friends) in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences urging them to vote for his picture.  It might sound silly, but that's a blatant violation of Academy rules.

Originally reported by The Envelope's Pete Hammond on Tuesday, the E-mails didn't sell the quality of the critically acclaimed thriller, but pushed the "independent" nature of "Locker" against a "$500 million" competitor.  Chartier didn't name "Avatar," but his campaign tone ("Please call one or two persons, everything will help!") did not suit well with the Academy.  By Thursday, the Academy had made Chartier send an apology to every member he'd contacted originally which included -- get this -- producers and filmmakers who worked on the other competing Best Picture nominees. Chartier was seemingly unaware of his bad taste and breach of Academy rules and it is expected that either Chartier or Summit Entertainment will be penalized because of his actions.  In the past, punishment in these types of matters has been confined to the allotment of tickets to the nominee (the golden egg to all involved). In this case that would constitute Summit Entertainment, the filmmakers and "Hurt Locker" producers.  The Academy have made it clear they won't comment on the situation or any reprimand until after the voting period closes on Tuesday, March 2 at 5 PM PT.

But, wait.  It got worse.

It appears Chartier sent out even more E-mails telling people how to rank their votes in order of preferential treatment. Specifically, he noted that  members put even if they are going to vote for "Locker," they should put "Avatar" as low as possible (say, No. 10 out of 10) because "we" need the win.  How the Academy will deal with these additional E-mails, which Chartier finally admitted to a shocked Summit Entertainment on Friday, will also remain unclear until next week.  However, at this point it wouldn't be surprising if Chartier is denied entry to the big show.  And, obviously, if "Locker" wins that would me he wouldn't get to appear on stage to accept the Oscar with his fellow producers including director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.  And considering how this story has spread across town like wildfire, even if he is in the theater, he may want to avoid stepping up on stage if "Locker" wins. It might get a very ugly reaction from the audience.

The critical question is whether this drama will truly affect Academy member votes.  The Academy does not release what percentage of voters tend to send in their ballots early or late in the process and anecdotally it seems to depend on the year.  With members already complaining about how difficult it is to understand the Academy's instructions on how to vote for the new ten Best Picture system (next year they might send a video), you could deduct many have not submitted yet. Therefore, this negative press could have a huge impact on "Locker's" chances.

Complicating matters is the fact 20th Century Fox has launched a major media campaign buying national television spots that hype up the critical accolades and once in a lifetime achievement of "Avatar."  These are absolutely aimed at Academy voters and while the buy has no doubt cost millions of dollars, it's a drop in the bucket when you've made $2.46 billion worldwide (and counting).

These events have only increased the drama for a race that was too close to call even before the news of the E-mails spread across town.  Could Chartier's mistake scuttle his own film's chances of beating James Cameron's blockbuster?  We'll all find out on Sunday, March 7, but no matter what the outcome it's a sad footnote to what had been a memorable underdog campaign for Summit, Bigelow and "Locker" this awards season.

 For the latest in breaking entertainment news and commentary follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.

Read Full Post
Mo'Nique accepts her Best Supporting Actress NAACP Award for "Precious: Based on Push a Novel by Sapphire"

Mo'Nique accepts her Best Supporting Actress NAACP Award for "Precious: Based on Push a Novel by Sapphire."

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

'Precious,' 'Grey's Anatomy' and Keri Hilson make noise at 41st NAACP Awards

Black Eyed Peas, Morgan Freeman, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston also take home statues

The 41st NCAA Images were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight and as expected, the Oscar nominated Best Picture "Precious: Based on 'Push' a novel by Sapphire" dominated the night with six awards including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.

Other winners included "Grey's Anatomy," Keri Hilson, The Black Eyed Peas, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Morgan Freeman.

The complete list of winners from tonight's show are as follows: 

Read Full Post