Just days away from the Oscars, The Hurt Locker gets blasted twice, first by the Academy, which banned one of its producers from the ceremony for a rule-violating email, and then by a lawsuit-filing Iraq War veteran who claims the movie ripped off his life.
Did we mention this all happened just days away from the Oscars, the Oscars at which one film by the name of The Hurt Locker is expected to dominate? Coincidence? Ha!
Conspiracy theorists do not believe in coincidences. We believe in suspects. Like these guys:
• James Cameron The Kathryn Bigelow connection aside, his Avatar is the film (and former front-runner) not so obliquely referenced in producer Nicholas Chartier's Academy-miffing missive. (…"[I]f everyone tells one or two of their friends [to vote for The Hurt Locker], we will win and not a $500M film," the note said in part.) Does anyone else have motive to leak Chartier's email to the press?
• Harvey Weinstein To answer the above question, yes! Think this guy would like to see The Hurt Locker knocked down a peg or two? Think he'd like people to think Team Avatar was responsible, thus knocking that film down a peg or two? Think he'd like to see his Inglourious Basterds climb over the knocked-down contenders and claim Best Picture for its own? Can you say, "Shakespeare in Love upset Saving Private Ryan!?" (And by the way, to this day, can you believe that happened?)
• ABC: Maybe it got worried The Hurt Locker was running away with a once-supposed tight race. Maybe it got jealous of NBC's huge Winter Olympics ratings, and of CBS' huge Grammys ratings. Maybe it ordered its bureau reporters to read the following script to each and every Army source, "Say, have you seen The Hurt Locker yet? Jeremy Renner looks just like you! Would you like a copy of the movie—and a number for a good attorney?"
• Jay Leno We just like blaming stuff on him.
• Osama bin Laden: Ditto.
An orchestrated Hurt Locker takedown is a bit Hollywood, even for Hollywood, and a bit bloodless for bin Laden. It's also a lot impractical. The Chartier sanction and the aggrieved Army sergeant's lawsuit were both announced the same day Oscar voting closed. Or, to put it another way, if someone wanted to "get" The Hurt Locker, wouldn't it "get" it a lot sooner? Trust us, William Randolph Hearst didn't wait for anything to sink Citizen Kane.
Our suspicious minds also have to concede that Bad-Press Week is practically a preordained rite of passage that the Oscar front-runner must endure before claiming its place in history. Remember last year's Slumdog Millionaire controversy? Probably not, we bet. That's how much, or how little, Bad-Press Week ultimately matters.
In the end, if The Hurt Locker loses, it'll lose because Avatar got more votes the old-fashioned way: It made $2.5 billion.
Nothing suspicious about it: All of your Oscar needs may be met in our Red Carpet section.