And the winner is… the Oscars!

Amid the talk of multiple nominations, snubs and triumphs one thing becomes clear. The big winner is the Academy Awards themselves, judging by the multiple thousands of articles I see on Google, which will soon be followed by thousands more: in-depth profiles of the nominees, photo galleries, retrospectives, quizzes, contests, office pools, printable ballots, party planning and the like. It’s a marketers dream – the product is part of mass culture and yet the Academy retains control. Everyone writes Oscar with a capital, don’t they?

Once the nominations are announced the frenzy truly begins, with the anointed making the media and party rounds, schmoozing for votes. At this point, it’s business – because an Oscar win can add millions at the box office and in DVD sales. A quick look at Toronto showtimes and I see listings for Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Queen, The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls, Pan's Labyrinth, Blood Diamond, Notes on a Scandal, Children of Men, Happy Feet, The Good Shepherd, Apocalypto and even Borat. For the best of 2006, there sure are a lot of them still around in 2007. It’s like they knew somehow. As for the other major nominees, Little Miss Sunshine and The Devil Wears Prada are already out on DVD and The Departed and Borat arrive next month, before the red carpet is rolled out.

If you’re unconvinced it’s all about the bottom line, consider this fact from Variety: “Over the past five years, the winners of the top two Globe kudos -- drama and comedy/musical -- have made $91 million between Globes night and Oscar night.” And that’s just the Golden Globe winners. Imagine what that little golden man can do for your movie. Watch for jumps for most of the nominees this weekend as people head to theatres to see what all the fuss is about, or to fill in their gaps before filling out their Oscar pool sheets. But I’m not complaining. I know I’m being sold to and I’m on board with it – it beats memorizing sports stats.

As for the nominees themselves, I have no opinion as I have only seen three of the films listed, my worst showing in years. I would feel worse about this except for the fact the vast majority were released just before or soon after the birth of my son, and while he’s ok to tote around to parties, screenings are not as welcoming. But I contend this will not stop my from winning my Oscar pool and defeating my arch-rival (she knows who she is!) Having seen most of the films can often be a detriment, as you tend to make artistic judgments and that always hurts you.

To win your pool, all you need to do is the following three things:
  1. Read Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar issue a couple of days before the ceremony.
  2. Read Film Experience daily – Nathaniel is an unfailing good predictor and fount of Oscar knowledge. (participants in my Oscar pool are not to click on this link)
  3. Remember, it’s show BUSINESS.


  1. I can't recall how much winning Best Picture increases a movie's box office on average, but it is a pretty penny. And I am willing to bet that it helps out a lot on DVD sales as well.

    Right now I am just hoping that Pan's Labyrinth being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film will result in us finally getting it in our neck of the woods.

  2. I'm pulling for Water, our Canadian entry, and one of the minuscule few I've seen. It's out on DVD if you haven't had a chance to see it.

  3. I haven't seen Water yet. I'll definitely have to look for it next time I'm at the store!

  4. And thought I'm Canadian, I'm pulling for the German entry "The Lives of Others"!

  5. Don't fret, Jeremy, about not seeing many of the nominees. I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, and expectedly, my film viewings have significantly declined since my days as a young movie usher.

    At least the nominations serve as a nice guide for catching what we missed.

  6. Ah Hersh, that was a fine summer of underemployment, with you holding the keys to a rep theatre and a free double pass good anywhere, anytime.

    Riiiico Suaaaaave!