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‘Hurt Locker’ and a History of Oscar Smear Campaigns

'Hurt Locker' and a History of Oscar Smear Campaigns

Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier is a friend, so his non-issue issue with the Academy is a sad one, and I wish him the best this weekend. But you have to admit: there is an insane amount of last-minute developments set up to take down The Hurt Locker during the homestretch to Oscar night. From Chartier’s e-mail misstep, to allegations of inaccuracy and now a full-on lawsuit, someone is out there working to bring The Hurt Locker (which has been the Oscar frontrunner since early February) down. This is nothing new, and you ever wonder why the Oscar underdog never has such bad luck? At Newsweek, Ramin Setoodeh chronicles a brief and recent history of Oscar smear campaigns, including:

2009: Slumdog Millionaire was unstoppable on the awards circuit. Sure enough, a new story broke that the two 8-year-old kids in the film were underpaid and exploited on set. Apparently, they didn’t even get as much money as the kids from The Kite Runner.

2005: After Million Dollar Baby was nominated for seven Oscars, The New York Times ran a big story that said “social activists” were worried the ending sent the “wrong message” to people with spinal-cord injuries.

2004: DreamWorks bought a nasty ad that quoted critics who believed best-supporting-actress nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) should win over Renée Zellweger (Cold Mountain). Like The Hurt Locker e-mail fiasco, it broke Academy campaigning rules, but the studio quickly apologized and nobody lost their ceremony tickets.

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