Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Oscars Alienating The Heartland?
That's the premise of an LA Times feature that manages to make several goofy, wrong-headed claims. First, it says 2005 was "one of the worst box office years ever." Really? With studios grossing some $40 billion (and that's a very conservative figure) thanks to theatrical, DVD, cable, video-on-demand, worldwide TV sales and more? That figure dwarfs the income of studios just 25 years ago -- even if you adjust for inflation. Then it describes The English Patient as an art house film with no recognizable stars and "meagre" box office. An odd description for a movie that grossed $230 million worldwide (and $78 million in the US is hardly meagre unless you're King Kong), not to mention an odd description of Ralph Fiennes, who starred in three Best Picture nominees in four years, including Robert Redford's Quiz Show and the Oscar-winning blockbuster Schindler's List, the movie that garnered Fiennes his own Oscar nod and made him a star. Finally, the entire piece begins by describing the five Best Picture nominees as "five movies most people haven't seen." Tell that to Brokeback Mountain as it aims for $100 million. I'm sure viewers will be scratching their heads, wondering what that quiet, barely discussed little movie is about.