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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 14:04 GMT
Bookmakers slash Crash Oscar odds
Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon in Crash
Crash stars Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon
The odds of race drama Crash winning the best picture Oscar have been slashed, but Brokeback Mountain remains the hot favourite.

UK bookmaker William Hill cut Crash's odds from 8/1 to 6/4 but still put Brokeback Mountain ahead at 1/2.

Meanwhile one of Crash's producers sued Oscar organisers after they failed to name him in the best picture nomination - an award given to producers.

The Academy declined to comment on producer Bob Yari's actions.

Mr Yari is also suing the Producers Guild of America, who called his action "bogus".

Crash producer Bob Yari
Crash producer Bob Yari said the credits system was "patently unfair"
Race relations drama Crash is up for a total of six prizes at Sunday's ceremony.

Mr Yari was one of Crash's six producers, but only two have been named as best picture nominees by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars.

The Academy has recently attempted to crack down on the number of nominated producers to ensure only those who genuinely filled that role are credited.

It has used the credits decided by the Producers Guild of America (PGA). Yari's legal action said the system was "patently unfair" and "a violation of the law".

"It never reveals who makes its awards-crediting decisions, what evidence is considered, or the basis on which a producer's application for award credit is rejected," he said.

OSCARS BEST PICTURE ODDS
1/2 - Brokeback Mountain
6/4 - Crash
20/1 - Good Night, and Good Luck
20/1 - Munich
25/1 - Capote
Source: William Hill
Crash's two nominated producers are Paul Haggis - who also wrote and directed the film - and Cathy Schulman.

A PGA spokesman said: "Credit determinations are made on a confidential basis because people are afraid to step forward and tell the truth because of retaliation.

"That is the norm. That is the standard in the industry."

In a separate court case, Cathy Schulman and one of Crash's executive producers, Tom Nunan, took legal action against Mr Yari.

They are suing him for allegedly failing to pay them more than $2m (1.14m) in fees and bonuses.

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Homosexual cowboys are at the heart of Brokeback Mountain

To avoid affecting the film's chances at the Oscars, both sides waited until voting closed on Tuesday before taking action.

Meanwhile, a conservative US Christian group has said 61,000 people have signed a letter protesting against Brokeback Mountain's eight Academy Award nominations.

The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ said the acclaim "had little to do with honouring great moviemaking".

"Instead, it is just a high-profile attempt to mainstream the homosexual agenda," the centre said.

The letter, sent to the Academy, said the gay cowboy story was "offensive to the vast majority of Americans".

Cashback
UK Oscar nominee Cashback has become a popular download

  • A UK film nominated for the best live short film Oscar has become one of the most popular video downloads among US users of iTunes.

    Cashback, written and directed by Sean Ellis, is at number five in the video download chart on iTunes' US version.

    It was beaten only by two episodes of castaway drama Lost, the video for singer Pink's new single Stupid and an episode of sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica.

    Ellis directed All Saints' video Never Ever before making films Left Turn and Cashback, which tells of a 19-year-old worker's bid to stay awake in an all-night supermarket.

    There will be full coverage of the 78th Academy Awards on the BBC News website throughout Sunday and Monday. There will also be an Oscars 2006 special on BBC News 24 and BBC World at 0930 GMT on Monday, which is streamed live on this website.


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