So I’m sitting around the house Sunday night after a nice day of skiing with the family, and the Oscars are on. I’m kinda listening with one ear, peek in once in a while, but after about twenty minutes I just turned the set off. Didn’t miss it much, either, and for me that’s odd, because I used to go to Oscar parties pretty regularly with my movie-cognoscenti friends. For some reason, this time I just couldn’t find it in me to care. Turns out I wasn’t alone.
This blurb (“article” would be gilding the lily) in the Hollywood Reporter points out that the 2008 Academy Awards telecast was the lowest-rated in history, down 25% in viewers in the 18-to-49 demo. (Still, 32 million people watched; I’d love to have one-tenth of that number see anything I worked on. And send me a dollar. Each.) Explanations posited ideas from lowered promotional opportunities in the Writers-Strike-savaged TV season to no real crowd-pleasing movies in contention for Best Picture. I’d have to lean towards the latter here; I saw “No Country For Old Men” a few weeks ago and, as much as I admire Joel and Ethan Coen and their work, this one makes their first film “Blood Simple” look like the Miley Cyrus 3-D concert flick. It doesn’t get much darker than “No Country.” And I hear “There Will Be Blood” is not quite a laugh-a-minute either.
In any event, the whole no-one-is-watching thing made me think: What’s at work here? Awards show overload? General cultural ennui? Maybe Americans are growing out of our collective celebrity fixation? Or do the movies just suck? I have no answers; I sure hope you do.
Of course, maybe no one is watching this space either.