March 03, 2006


Sally Field in an Oscar momentThe Oscars are this weekend and, speaking for everyone who lives in my head, we couldn't care less. I used to love the Oscars and considered it a point of pride that I would always make it through the broadcast. But the Oscars have been suffocated by phony good taste since Rob Lowe and Snow White sang "Proud Mary" back in 1989, and last year's ceremony was the first one I turned off before the ending in a desperate act of self-preservation.

I probably won't even watch the Oscars beyond the red carpet hijinx and the first 40 minutes this year and I'm not alone (with these voices in my head, I'm never alone). This might be the year when Oscar advertisers start to ask why the Oscars are only slightly higher than "American Idol" in the ratings but charge about three times the price per 30 second ad. The SuperBowl charges a little more than the Oscars for ad spots, but it has twice the audience.

The Oscars this year have a "Best Picture" line-up that feels more like NPR than a snapshot of the multiplex. Collectively, the "Best Picture" nominees this year have grossed half (and in some years, a third) of what the previous five years of "Best Picture" line-ups have grossed, and when the nominations were announced "Munich" and "Brokeback Mountain" actually dipped at the box office, rather than grabbing a bump in business off their nomination. Things don't look good for Oscar and its advertisers this year. And, as far as I'm concerned, it's about time.

March 3, 2006 at 07:43 AM in News | Permalink


I guess I'm cranky today. Grady, why should the Oscars be "a snapshot of the multiplex"? What does that mean? You want more nominations for REVENGE OF THE SITH and MEET THE FOKKERS? (I know you don't - I'm baiting you.) The Best Pic nominees "have grossed half (and in some years, a third) of what the previous five years of "Best Picture" line-ups have grossed"? Good! Keep going lower, I say.

I would have the Oscars look a LOT less like the multiplex than they do even this year. To keep it on blog-topic, in an Oscars that actually recognized merit, Hou Hsiao-hsien's CAFE LUMIERE would be in the Best Picture nominees, and 2046 would be all over the tech nominations like Cinematography and Costume and Art Direction. (And for the record, my fantasy Oscars would still include BROKEBACK, which I find to be most or all it's cracked up to be. And Werner Herzog and Beat Takeshi would co-host with Jon Stewart.)

Maybe it didn't come out sounding like you meant it, but your last paragraph there almost sounds like it could be lifted out of one of those yearly trade-mag editorials about how elitist the critics are for their ten best lists that don't consist strictly of Hollywood studio fare that's grossed over $100 million. The sort of thing that would appear in a philistine industry-cheerleading rag like Hollywood Reporter or Var...


Posted by: Michael Wells | Mar 3, 2006 12:35:32 PM

Something that always irks me about the Oscars is the makeup nominations.

Yes, the makeup nominations. You never see genre films get the credit they deserve. Its always some stately, respectable fantasy film(Narnia Tim Burton, Lemoney Snickitt), old-age gimmick, or some type of "arty" inventiveness(whoa, Nicole Kidman has a big nose, they made Charlize Theron ugly! WOW!).

Outside of LOTR, I can't recall a single makeup award, or the majority of the nominations, in recent years that I agreed with. The guys doing makeup in genre films impress me a heckava lot more then the more respectable nominations do.

Hellboy had the bar-none best prothetic work I'd seen that year, and it didn't get recognized for spit. And if the nominations were passed out on merit alone, there would be at least a few horror films competing in the makeup catagory every year. Was anybody else not completely amazed by the effects work in High Tension, House of 1000 Corpses, etc.

Until the academy recognizes the difficult task it is to make a man appear to be realistically ripped apart by a chainsaw, or have a compound fracture, I will refuse to believe that the awards always go to whom is most deserving of their prize.

Posted by: Max K. | Mar 3, 2006 3:03:03 PM

This year's nominations are actually reasonably good, and the general quality of 05 films are much, much better than 04. Although i was somewhat miffed that some deserving films didn't get any nominations (Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Broken Flowers) the nominations are not too bad. At the very least, they didn't nominate chaff for Best Animation.

Posted by: nevin | Mar 3, 2006 8:56:39 PM

I think the Oscars are ridiculously overpriced/overhyped/and not very entertaining and I'd like to see their advertisers take a hike so that they're forced to put on a show that is actually fun to watch. I mean, look at the montages? Have you ever seen a more boring bunch of editing on display? Make something good, or don't waste our time. The ceremony moves at the pace of a 100 year old mummy with bad knees, and it needs an injection of smarts and pizzazz or it should, rightfully, wither on the vine.

I guess the thing that surprises me (and that I find worrying) is that Oscars (which one would think represent the prevailing taste of the people who make the movies, since they're the ones who vote) and the audiences are moving further apart. Hollywood needs to figure out a way to make good movies that people actually want to watch. Maybe I'm a freakishly shallow person but would take the Lord of the Rings movies over CRASH any year. I'd rather be entertained and moved than lectured - if I had to pick one or the other. And I think filmmakers are capable of doing both, but they've gotten lazy and now only do one at a time.

Partly it's audiences, partly it's the movies, but it's a widening gap and it's a real drag.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Mar 6, 2006 7:48:26 AM

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