A group of US veterans of the Iraq war have taken aim at The Hurt Locker, which is a favourite to win the Oscar for best picture on Sunday.
By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
Published: 9:03PM GMT 01 Mar 2010
Explosive performance: Jeremy Renner in 'The Hurt Locker'
The war film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, has been nominated for nine Oscars.
It tells the story of a driven bomb disposal expert Staff Sergeant William James, played by Jeremy Renner, who serves with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (E.O.D.) unit.
It was written by Mark Boal, a journalist who was embedded with US forces, but some veterans have vocally criticised the accuracy of the film ahead of the Oscars ceremony.
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said much of the film made soldiers out to be reckless cowboys.
He said the film was "silly and inaccurate" and had received "nine more Oscar nominations than it deserves."
"Many of our members around the country have noted the flawed portrayal of E.O.D. and the other – to the civilian eye – seemingly minor mistakes," he said in an article for Newsweek magazine.
"Such as soldiers in the wrong uniforms, using poor tactics, and ranks that don't accurately correspond to the leadership being shown. This equates to something larger than just a series of careless errors. It is disrespectful."
Mr Rieckhoff said the film was "just as disappointing as all the others produced so far, but with better window dressing and an Oscar nomination."
Other veterans have been more enthusiastic about the film saying it is the most accurate portrayal yet.
And US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has described it as "authentic" and "very compelling."
Mr Boal has said he was not trying to make a documentary and that some "respectful" dramatic choices had to be made.
That included having the soldiers wear present day uniforms rather than the ones they would have worn in 2004, when the film is set.
The Hurt Locker has already faced one late controversy in the run up to the Oscars after one of its producers, Nicholas Chartier, sent an email urging Oscar voters to support his movie and "not a $500 (£300) million film" – which was an obvious reference to Avatar.
Mr Chartier later apologised, explaining that he had not been aware of Oscar rules preventing such actions.
Oscar votes are due to be cast by Tuesday with the best picture category considered a two horse race between The Hurt Locker and Avatar.