Tuesday, March 01, 2005

One reason why the ratings for the Oscars might have been is that the movies stunk... This was the first time in 15 years that NONE of the Best Picture nominees had pulled in $100 million at the domestic box office (The Aviator leads this motley group with $93 million, followed by Ray with $75 million, Million Dollar Baby with $64 million, Sideways with $63 million and Finding Neverland with a whopping $48 million).

People watch the Oscars (at least women and gay men) to see how their favorites fare - the public isn't going to spend 3+ hours watching awards being given to actors and actresses they don't like for performances in movies they didn't bother to go see.

Now, suppose the Academy actually nominated some actors and actresses with drawing power and movies that pulled in $150 million plus at the box office? For Best Picture, put Spider-Man 2 against Meet the Fockers, Harry Potter and Shrek 2 - over a BILLION DOLLARS of drawing power!

As for Best Actor, no offense against Don Cheadle, Leonardo or Jamie Foxx, but nobody went to see you in the theatres... so why the surprise when the public doesn't tune in for the Oscars? Instead, put Toby Maguire up against Ben Stiller, Matt Damon and Tom Hanks - close to a billion in box office receipts. As for Best Actress, far more people went to see Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates , Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries 2 and Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly than watched Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. As I read somewhere yesterday, Hillary Swank has to be one of the worst-drawing two time Oscar winners of all time. Again, no offense, but nominating her for an Oscar is begging for people to find something else to do on a Sunday night. It's a heck of an advertising campaign: "You didn't watch her on the Big Screen, but please watch her anyway on the Little Screen".

So long as the Academy continues to insist on standards for excellence that just don't match the rest of the country, they can expect to draw fewer and fewer and fewer to their exercise in self-congratulations. To paraphrase that old expression, if you make a movie and no one shows up to see it, can it really be any good?