RED CARPET BLUES: The awards season culminates next month in the Oscars, the worst show ever that millions of people watch with what we can only assume is the hope that a celebrity will embarrass themselves with a blubbering acceptance speech that bares their pitiful insecurity for all the world to see.
Actually, the conventional wisdom is that people watch the interminable movie awards ceremony to see a film they enjoyed win, with the corollary effect that the highest-rated Oscars are the ones where a blockbuster like Titanic or a Lord Of The Rings film does a sweep. If this is true — and there’s more than enough evidence to assume that it is — then Marc Caro of the Chicago Tribune is right and ABC will be taking a bath on its broadcast this year.
Nominations for the Oscars were announced yesterday, and conspicuously absent was The Dark Knight, a film whose massive box office clearly inspired reverse esteem in the Academy’s voters. Only a posthumous nod for Heath Ledger’s Joker as Best Supporting Actor put The Dark Knight in any of the top categories, though it’s well-represented in the technical categories (art direction, cinematography, sound mixing and editing), when viewers usually get their pizza delivery.
Continuing a trend that’s dominated the Oscars for a few years now, the films with the most high-profile nominations are either critical duds, box office underperformers — or both.
“The Reader is a best picture (and director) nominee, and The Dark Knight is not,” writes Caro with obvious disbelief. “Yes, the highbrow Holocaust film with lukewarm reviews is in the game!”
Even the best song category won’t pull in viewers, as voters swatted away the chance to have Bruce Springsteen, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé or even Clint Eastwood perform in favour of Peter Gabriel doing the credits song from Wall-E (i.e. the cue to head for the exits) and no less than two songs from Slumdog Millionaire, which will at least mean some Bollywood production values. It’s at times like this that network executives outdo Hugo Chavez in their contempt for fickle, ungovernable democracy.