Friday, March 03, 2006

Oscars - Who will win? Who cares?

Brokeback is going to win best picture and best director. Everyone knows it? So why are there rumors that Crash will win? It's partly because Crash's studio is mounting a marketing campaign but I think it mainly comes down to ratings.

The Oscars is a long boring show. It always runs long. It gets its highest ratings when either a very popular picture is likely to win (such as Lord of the Rings) or when there some real controversy about which picture will get win.

None of this year's nominees are popular. Brokeback has a box office gross of around $75 million. Figuring $8-$10 admission (probably closer to $10 since it mainly played in big cities for half its run) then fewer than 10 million people have seen it. In a country with a population of 300 million, that means that fewer than 3% have seen it. If only the people who saw Brokeback watch then the ratings will be a disaster. Even if everyone who saw all five movies watches and no one else, the ratings will be terrible.

So the powers that be came up with some drama. Crash had a last minute surge and could win after all.

Does Crash have a chance? Not likely. It wasn't even supposed to get a best picture nomination. It took the slot that was supposed to go to Walk the Line which did have a shot at best picture.

About the only real drama is if the Oscars will be a clean sweep for gay-themed movies or if Reece Witherspoon will get it. I don't plan on watching just for that.

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