22 January, 2007

How The Internet Could Save The Oscars®

Yes, I've actually given this a lot of thought. Why, I don't know--other than the fact that I've been on an insomniac phase lately and there's only so much Age Of Mythology a person can play.

When I was a kid, The Oscars®** were a big deal and I used to LOVE watching them. They were glamourous and exciting. Now they're more like a very fancy business meeting for a company that sells products I don't use. I think I'd have as much fun watching the televised year-end banquet for some mid-level Life and Casuality Company. ["And the two-week Hawaiian vacation for most new clients signed in the past three quarters goes to....Bob Watson!!!!"]

Like Norma Desmond I spent a lot of years thinking that it was because the pictures got smaller. Or more esoteric. And yes, there is a degree of that. Lately, though, I'm thinking that part of it is because the pictures have gotten so inaccessible. I've been reading bits and pieces of this year's speculations on who will win, who should win and why. Most of the films and performances have something in common.

They're in movies that I haven't seen.

With the gap between Good Films and Fun Films getting wider, the types of movies that people push for Award-Worthiness are not generally playing in one of the theatres around my house. Even if they were, I do not go to the theatre to see serious pictures. As a general rule I reserve the time and expense of a theatre trip for the experience of a movie that's pure entertainment--just like I don't go to the Ice Cream Parlour to eat my breakfast cereal. Yes, I realise that's probably sacrilege because these good films deserve to be seen in a film environment.

But even the nominating committees watch them on screeners. That means that they have DVDs of the movies delivered to their door in hopes that they will actually watch the films and nominate them for an award. The very people in charge of deciding the artistic merit of a film see most of the worthy candidates in the same way I'd prefer to see them. At home with their dogs and a bowl of soup. And here's where my plan comes into play.

As on-demand film delivery accelerates, I think it would be much easier to get the home audience to see these types of movies. As much as I'm interested in The Last King Of Scotland and Notes On A Scandal, for instance, seeing them is almost prohibitive. Scotland is presently playing at precisely one theatre in town, and I want to fight traffic in Green Hills about as much as I want to take in Morgan Spurlock as a boarder. Notes is not even playing THERE. On the other hand, could I download these films and watch them at home on Thursday Night (when Ugly Betty and The Office are both in repeats) I would do it. And then I would actually have something to care about on Oscar® night.

***Isn't it so pretentious how I'm putting the "®" after Oscar, like the Acadamy is going to sue me if I don't? Really it's just because I recently figured out how to make that little symbol on my blog, so I'm overusing it.


At 7:31 AM, January 22, 2007, Blogger Aunt B said...

I would pay one million dollars to watch if Morgan Spurlock were your boarder. I'm just saying.

At 7:47 AM, January 22, 2007, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

You know what's really neat? In your scenario, the People's Choice Awards would truly be just that. You could rate the film immediately after viewing it.

I like it!

At 9:30 AM, January 22, 2007, Blogger John H said...

aw, come on..30 days with Kat and Tim and the menagerie...now THAT'S entertainment!

Last King of Scotland was worth the traffic because F. Whittaker is amazing. Caveat: The movie caters to the 'hollywood' conceit that you can't really have a movie about an African leader/hero/pioneer unless there is a white guy as our POV. Hotel Rwanda is the glaring exception to this rule.

At 9:36 AM, January 22, 2007, Blogger P. K. Nail said...

Notes On a Scandal is supposedly coming here *this* Friday, but again, only at Green Hills.

I hate that we have to work so hard to see good films here. Because if it's not playing at Green Hills, it's likely only going to be on at the even more obscure Belcourt, which is a great theatre, but you really have to plan if you want to see something there. Most stuff is only there a week, and you have to get there at least half an hour ahead if you want a parking space.

Who got to make the decision that only New Yorkers and Angelinos should get to see the good stuff?

At 11:24 AM, January 22, 2007, Anonymous nm said...

It's not all that different in New York or L.A., if you take population into account. Something that plays here (half a million people in the greater movie-going area) for a week on one screen will play there (in NYC, 26 million people in the greater movie-going area) for three weeks on twenty screens. That's about the same number of showings per capita. That's a tiny proportion of the movies being shown there, and they'll only be at the relatively few theaters that show indie/art/serious films. The only difference in NYC is that the theaters are right on the street in places where people live, not in malls.


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