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Thread: Why watch the Oscars? Because they're there

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Why watch the Oscars? Because they're there

    From the reporter.com, this article on why we watch the Oscars (BTW, I have not seen any of these movies yet):

    Feb. 28, 2006


    Why watch the Oscars? Because they're there
    By Ray Richmond

    As if we needed more evidence heralding the official arrival of a new audience-fractionalizing D-Day (as in DVR, DVD, VOD and ADD), now comes word that Sunday's 78th Annual Academy Awards are in grave danger of tanking in the ratings by dint of the fact that mainstream America hasn't shown the least interest in this crop of nominated flicks and folks.

    Red alert! Red alert! A wake-up call has jolted an event that's rarely had to concern itself with the vagaries of competition or the evolution of consumer entertainment. Now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences membership has gone all indie elitist in its Oscar lineup choices, fears of a Nielsen revolt are palpable at both ABC and AMPAS.

    So significant is the anxiety that a version of ABC's Oscar telecast poster has only one actual face on it, that of host Jon Stewart -- a known commodity from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and a genuine selling point. The other three squares depict mere hands clutching statuettes in front of formally clad torsos, one of them a doctored image of the white-gloved Grace Kelly. Ah, the good ol' days.

    The sense of dread this week stems from the seemingly sound presumption that small movies equal small viewership, that America isn't about to flock to a kudofest dedicated to honoring films about gay cowboys ("Brokeback Mountain"), gay novelists ("Capote"), iconic TV journalists ("Good Night, and Good Luck"), racial unrest ("Crash") and the aftermath of a horrific act of terrorism perpetrated nearly 34 years ago ("Munich").

    Heath Ledger? Keira Knightley? Jake Gyllenhaal? Terrence Howard? Joaquin Phoenix? David Strathairn? Amy Adams? Michelle Williams? Who are these people? At least George Clooney is a magazine-cover kind of nominee. Why did the Academy's members snub Peter Jackson and "King Kong" and Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger and Ron Howard and ... and ... ?

    Well, I'm here to tell everyone to basically relax. It's all going to be OK, because the truth is that the Academy Awards aren't about having seen the nominated pictures. They're about watching the Academy Awards.

    It's the spectacle, stupid!

    As the closest thing that showbiz has to a public trust, the Oscars are like a protected spring in the middle of a forest, largely unaffected by the surrounding forces of nature (or in this case, industry). ABC and the film Academy have a huge amount riding on the show remaining what is typically television's second-most-watched program.

    In order for the ratings to truly plummet, millions of the diehards who make the Oscars appointment viewing would have to suddenly decide that this relative dearth of recognizable names may just inspire them to go out to dinner instead. It would almost be a case of standing on principle to bypass the year's preeminent water-cooler event.

    This isn't to say we don't see some genuine swing in the numbers. When a "Titanic" is sweeping things, you see a bounce. When the big kahuna is "Chicago," there's a noticeable dip. But you're always going to have a solid core of 35 million or so loyal Academy Awards junkies who are there come hell or high apathy. To believe there will automatically be a substantial tune-out or midshow exodus from the Oscarcast because there aren't enough stars or too many nominated films made for under $30 million is akin to thinking consumers will en masse forego turkey on Thanksgiving because the supermarket decided not to stock Foster Farms and Butterball.

    The Oscars really are like that: a tradition for which boycotting would be largely unthinkable even if it seems voters have lost touch with the moviegoing public. This remains, for the moment, the one Hollywood event that's essentially idiot-proof.

    Now, getting people back in theaters the following weekend ... that's a different story.

  2. #2

    Crash

    Surprise, Brokeback Mountain didn't win best film! Of the movies that were nominated, I want to see Munich and Crash.

    GG
    Last edited by General Gonad; 03-06-2006 at 01:25 AM.

  3. #3
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    I watched 'Crash' yesterday morning (at 3am) and i found it fantastic. Okay, not in the same league as past winners such as 'Gladiator' and 'Schindler's List', but as good if not better than the other nominees. It's the kind of movie that will make me do what i rarely do: to make me want to watch it again.

    It was nice to see my buddy George Clooney win something....it just goes to show that he's a very talented actor/director and not just a pretty face, something i've known for years. Everyone in Hollywood was overjoyed to see him win, since he's well-liked by everyone and one of the most down-to-earth celebrities that you'll ever meet.

    I was happy to see Reese Witherspoon winning for 'Walk the Line'. People don't realize that she and Joaquin Phoenix actually sang their own songs for the movie. As for Joaquin, i was pulling for him to win, but it was nearly impossible for anyone to beat out Philip Seymour Hoffman this year. He was absolutely extraordinary in 'Capote'.

    My favorite dressed celebs were Salma Hayek, Keira Knightely (whom i've adored since i first saw her in Doctor Zhivago at the age of 17), Naomi Watts & Jessica Alba (mercy!!). I loved the moment where Jennifer Garner nearly fell on her face (but happy she didn't...she's pregnant)....and loved the clips, especially the western/gay theme and Film Noir tribute. I liked John Stewart....better than all the others except Billy Crystal, who is now to the Oscars what Bob Hope used to be: irreplaceable.

    And finally....my discovery was the Persian girl in 'Crash'. She was interviewed on the red carpet prior to the opening ceremonies. I think she's orginally from Iran. Whew!! She reminds me of my top sp of the year....saw her on the day of my birthday. Whew!!

    A very enjoyable Oscars....but i hated the background music being played during the speeches. I found this annoying, a bit loud, and disrespectful to the winners.

  4. #4
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    ''The Oscars''

    I'm glad to learn this morning that ''Brokeback Mountain'' ''bit the dust'' yesterday . I saw the movie and thought it was WAY overrated. The only good thing about it was the performance of its 2 main protagonists. As far as Clooney, I don't have much to say about him, except that he seems like an ok actor, I guess, but what's more impressive is the fact he's got many different talents. He's a bit too political, though, and should stick with just his craft!

    I agree about Seymour Hoffman. It had been a very long time since I had seen an actor so overwhelmingly ''dominant'' in a movie. The role of the actor in Brokeback mountain, who was also nominated, was, in my opinion, more difficult to play than Hoffman's, though.

    Lastly, I was also really pleased to see the Black guy who played in last summer's rap drama get a nomination.

    fml

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Holliday
    My favorite dressed celebs were Salma Hayek, ......
    Doc,

    Stop right there. Salma Hayek was stunning - I think she is the epitome of sexy. Everything about her is sexy: her eyes, her lips, her hair, her breasts, her curves, the way she walks and talks.

    I agree with your other comments, except that I was surprised that Reese won best actress (I thought Felicity Huffman was going to win). And thanks for telling us about Crash, now I will definetely see it.


    GG

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    I enjoyed "Crash", but the best movies I saw in 2005 were "The Constant Gardiner" and "King Kong", both of which did not get nominated. King Kong won 3 Awards for various special effects categories. As far as "Brokeback Mountain", in 3 years nobody will even remember the film. It was a movie that was ultra hyped by movie critics, many of whom are gay men prone to trumpeting anything with a gay theme even if it's total crap as far as being art.

    Salma Hayek was stunning, but Jessica Alba was the hottest lady on that stage last night. It appears to me that both Nicole Kidman and, certainly, Dolly Parton, have both had cosmetic surgery on their faces.

    There was a terribly embarassing moment when Lauren Bacall, (now in her 80s but a huge star back in the 1940s and she was once married to Humphrey Bogart), was brought out as a presenter. She repeatedly forgot and bungled her lines. I was cringing-it was a disgrace! I heard she has a bit of a drinking problem and may have been drinking shots backstage, and whether it was that or advancing age, or some combination, the Academy should not be in the business of humiliating people on national TV. I compare this to what the New York Mets did by putting Willie Mays out in center field in the 1973 World Series, humiliating the guy and severely tarnishing a great Hall of Fame career.

    I found Jon Stewart as host to be crude, awkard at times, generally unfunny and not worthy of being invited back to host again. He's a disrespectful, classless twit. The difference between him and Billy Crystal is that there are huge gaps in both talent and class.

    The French guys who accepted for "March of Penguins" as best documentary pissed me off for apologizing for their English but not thanking Morgan Freeman, whom the camera panned to in anticipation of his being recognized. You can't tell me these bozos didn't speak English well enough to say "thanks to Morgan Freeman for his remarkable narration of this film." Another group of talented but disrespectful twits. Show Morgan some love dudes!

    I was glad to see Robert Altman honored, always liked his films, but he pissed me off by shamelessly plugging his upcoming movies and plays. There was absolutely no reason to mention them other than to plug them.

    George Clooney had the best line of the night, saying that the only way to really measure the acting performances is to put all the nominees in a batsuit and let them go!
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-06-2006 at 09:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Train
    Jessica Alba , Charlize, Halle and Selma................everyone else should be neutered and let these four re-populate the earth with their offspring.....as Stewart said. Best movie I saw this year.....The Wedding Crashers. I know , I know low brow humour, but at least I was entertained and laughed which is more than I can say for most movies.
    I remember the line, but if my memory is correct, it was directed at the next presenters, Jessica Alba and Eric Bana. I agree with your views on 'Wedding Crashers'. Absolutely hillarious, and probably the best movie i've seen all year!! A classic!!

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    As far as "Brokeback Mountain", in 3 years nobody will even remember the film. It was a movie that was ultra hyped by movie critics, many of whom are gay men prone to trumpeting anything with a gay theme even if it's total crap as far as being art.
    I heard the same thing from other people. I also believed that the hype machine got going too early and that the movie's popularity had already peaked months ago and had lost its momentum.

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    Salma Hayek was stunning, but Jessica Alba was the hottest lady on that stage last night. It appears to me that both Nicole Kidman and, certainly, Dolly Parton, have both had cosmetic surgery on their faces.
    I loved Alba's dress...it almost gave the impression that she wasn't wearing anything! As for your comments on Kidman and Parton, i couldn't agree more. Kidman's face looks plastic-like. Almost like a doll's. As for Parton, she needs to put on a few pounds. The anorexia look isn't doing it for me. And it now looks too obvious that her rack was redone. It looked so asymetrical to the rest of her frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    There was a terribly embarassing moment when Lauren Bacall was brought out as a presenter. She repeatedly forgot and bungled her lines. I was cringing-it was a disgrace! I heard she has a bit of a drinking problem and may have been drinking shots backstage, and whether it was that or advancing age, or some combination, the Academy should not be in the business of humiliating people on national TV.
    I agree, but i didn't find it as bad as you're saying. As for your statement about the Academy who shouldn't be in the business of humiliating people on national (and international) tv, how were they to know how Bacall would perform in a live setting? And if she did have a few shots before the presentations (which i doubt, but who knows)....what are they to do? Replace her at the last minute, embarrass her in the process, cause a scandal, etc??? I think that they did their best in such a situation (if she did drink at all) and crossed their fingers, hoping for the best. After all, it could have happened with any presenter...i'm sure they don't have babysitters going around following each presenters prior to the ceremony.

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    I found Jon Stewart as host to be crude, awkard at times, generally unfunny and not worthy of being invited back to host again. He's a disrespectful, classless twit. The difference between him and Billy Crystal is that there are huge gaps in both talent and class.
    Well, if you watch The Daily Show regularly like i do, you'd realize that this is Jon Stewart's style: Sarcasm. The Oscar people knew this and that's why he was chosen to host the Oscars. I still haven't heard a negative word (except here) about the job Stewart did and there's already talk that he'll automatically be reinvited to host next year's Oscars. He did a much superior job to Winfrey, Letterman, Chase, Martin and company. If both he and Crystal refuse the invite next year, my vote would go to Jay Leno, whom i think would be a brilliant host.

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    George Clooney had the best line of the night, saying that the only way to really measure the acting performances is to put all the nominees in a batsuit and let them go!
    The line that i enjoyed the most was from Jon Stewart: "Pimps are a lot like agents....but have much nicer hats."

    Amen to that!
    Last edited by Doc Holliday; 03-06-2006 at 12:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    Saw Crash during the summer on video and thought it was amazing and was not surprised to see it win. Very well conceived, great soundtrack and a story to boot.

    Saw Fudgepack Mountain and honestly just a typical pile of drivel from Hollyrock trying to make $$ off the 'in thing' (being gay). Now everyone is screaming it didn;t win because of the religious right, etc... piss off already, the movie sucked although the cinematography was very good.

    As usual thugh, a broing show but nice to see some good cleavage on the stars.

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    Mixed Reviews for Stewart

    The reviews are in for Jon Stewart, and they ain't good:

    http://today.reuters.com/news/articl...RS-REVIEWS.xml

    This says it best:

    Tom Shales of the Washington Post said he found it "hard to believe that professional entertainers could have put together a show less entertaining than this year's Oscars, hosted with a smug humorlessness by comic Jon Stewart, a sad and pale shadow of great hosts gone by."

    Stewart has hosted his first and last Academy Awards, mark my words.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-06-2006 at 03:00 PM.

  10. #10
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    Arrow Read it all Beav!

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    The reviews are in for Jon Stewart, and they ain't good:
    Hmmmm...Maybe you didn't read the whole article Beav, they look pretty good to me but what else would we expect from a single track minded Yankees fan like yourself

    New York Newsday and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch both gave Stewart, 43, high marks, with Gail Pennington of the Post-Dispatch gushing, "Jon Stewart did the Oscars proud Sunday night, turning in a four-star hosting performance that unfortunately made the rest of the show seem sluggish by comparison."

    Critics Robert Ebert and Richard Roeper of the movie review TV show "Ebert and Roeper" also raved about Stewart's performance.

    "He was smart, he was funny, he was as comfortable and as anyone since Johnny Carson, and I think he could have the job for life, if he wants it," Ebert said. Roeper chimed in that he thought the "the Carson comparison is perfect."

    "I'm a big fan of his, but I didn't know if he could play to such a large room," Roeper said. "But the material was great, the film bits, and most important of all, his ad-libs. He went with the moment just to the right amount."

    Reuters/VNU

  11. #11
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    SK,

    Note the headline of my post was "Mixed Reviews for Stewart."

    I happen to agree with Shales' point of view. But the only opinions that will matter are those of the ABC execs who will likely look at ratings more than the reviews. The ratings were down 10% from the Chris Rock hosted show in 2005.

    The overall presentation, even apart from Stewart, was lackluster as compared to prior years.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-06-2006 at 03:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    The overall presentation, even apart from Stewart, was lackluster as compared to prior years.
    Let's face it: anyone other than Billy Crystal doing the Oscars is already behing the 8-ball. So if not Stewart, who else could do the show? How about George W. Bush in 3 years? I'm serious....it would be great! Hillarious!! The guy is a comedic genius!! (and he doesn't even know it)

    I loved the intro, when Stewart woke up in bed next to Halle Berry...and then, it's George Clooney next to him!!

    Love the quip: "Good Night, and Good Luck......that's how George Clooney ends all his dates." Even Clooney couldn't help but to chuckle at that one.

    By the way...how does JACK manage to get the same seat year after year? This year, he was sitting next to luscious Keira Knightley...not bad!

    My number one babe last night: Diane Kruger. She looked amazing!! For those who don't know her, she's the girl from 'Wicker Park' and 'Troy':

    http://www.imdb.com/features/rto/200...rpet/36?seq=36

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    Diane Kruger

    I never saw "Troy", but seem to recall reading something about Diane Kruger having a nude scene in which you see her ass - is that true?

  14. #14

    Why did Oscar's ratings rattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    But the only opinions that will matter are those of the ABC execs who will likely look at ratings more than the reviews. The ratings were down 10% from the Chris Rock hosted show in 2005.

    EB,

    To be fair, it all depends on the year - some years are hits and some are misses. Look at what happened in 2003:

    http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...d=VR1117883565

    I personally feel Jon Stewart is a comic genius, just like Dave Letterman. They both have that sarcastic, witty humor. But no matter who presents, it all comes down to the movies and the stars. Mainstream America simply wasn't interested in gay cowboys or transexuals. Hollywood can claim that they don't care but watch and see how many years it will be before we get these type of movies again. It all comes down to $$$$$!!!!!

    GG

  15. #15
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    GG,

    I agree, and have no doubt that this was one of the reasons for the low ratings, that is, the notion that whole Awards show was going to be a lovefest for "Brokeback Mountain", which ended up getting shut out except for the bone they threw Ang Lee for Best Director.

    However, Stewart captained the ship and he must sink with the ship. That's basically the American way. Ask Boston Red Sox fans whether Grady Little should have continued to manage that team after the 2003 ALCS.

    The Captain must sink with the ship - it's the American way!

    I think they should either bring Billy Crystal back, or else think about bringing in some new multitalented guy of Crystal's calibre and pedigree.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-06-2006 at 06:39 PM.

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