erik lundegaard

Three things about The New York Times post-Oscars article

Three things about The New York Times post-Oscars article: "Academy Smiles with Both Faces."


Missing for many industry insiders was the organic sense of drama that came with past shows in which a popular film like “Titanic” or “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” built to a climax by picking up prize after prize — or when “The Aviator” built momentum through the minor awards in 2005, only to see the major Oscars slip away as "Crash" claimed the top prize. In those shows the awards actually were the entertainment.

This obviously confuses 2004 ("Aviator") with 2005 ("Crash"), or 2005 with 2006, depending on how you're scoring. It's since been corrected online but it went out in the print edition and it highlights what's wrong with the sentiment. There's rarely any kind of entertainment in the awards themselves. There may be surprises and shocks and disgust but not entertainment. What is this asking anyway? That the giving of awards be constructed as well as a play or movie? That's absurd.


By contrast, Sunday’s entertainment value was in many ways grafted on in a process that could seem vaguely dishonest at times. If “Up in the Air” was so worthy of monologue attention, why was it snubbed in all six categories in which it was nominated?

This is similarly absurd. First, I don't remember too much attention being paid to "Up in the Air." And even if, so what? The show is the show and the awards are the awards. It would be nice if the twain met, but, ahem, that twain left the station a long time ago. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


Spotlighting the incongruence, “The Hurt Locker,” the big winner with six trophies including best picture, was also one of the least-watched films in its theatrical run to ever win the top prize. It sold about $14.7 million in tickets in North America and about $6.7 million overseas. On its opening weekend in two theaters in New York, its screenwriter, Mark Boal — now an Oscar winner — stood on street corners with his teenage nephew handing out free tickets to passersby with the idea that if they could stack the house, perhaps the theater owners would book it for another week.

The bigger story is less "The Hurt Locker"'s box office than the role Summit Entertainment played in not getting it out there. The evidence is right there in the above graf: They did such a poor job that the screenwriter and his nephew were forced to market for them! What was the Summit marketing team doing at the time—gearing up for the Sept. release of "Sorority Row"? "The Hurt Locker" is a movie that basically played in select cities. Its widest release was 535 theaters. Half of the best picture nominees were released into more than 3,000 theaters. "Up in the Air" got more than 2,000 theaters, "Precious" more than 1,000. Even "An Education" managed 700+. Only "A Serious Man," among the nominees, had a more limited release than the eventual best picture of the year. Someone besides me needs to start trashing Summit for this.

No tagsPosted at 12:47 PM on Tue. Mar 09, 2010 in category Movies - The Oscars  


Andy E wrote:

Thanks for keeping up the fight on this...hopefully someone will pick up this's really a crime that Hollywood studios are neglecting quality filmmaking, even when it's by their own artists. It's the same sad story publishing, in music.
The thing is, this is such a fervent creative period right now. I would argue there's a ton amazing stuff being written and created now, but it's seen as a limited target niche.
Comment posted on Thu. Mar 11, 2010 at 02:54 AM
« Dead-blogging the Oscars   |   Home   |   Quote of the Day »
 RSS    Facebook

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard