This is not the People's Choice award, it is the industry's assessment of its best products. If you want irony, the same year that the People's Choice Award went to Mel Gibson for PotC, "Farenheit 9/11" was named favorite film. What a schizo audience that is!
Media Biz by Paul R. La Monica Column archive
Stop being grouchy about the Oscars
Sure, no big blockbusters have been nominated. But so what? Since when are the Academy Awards a celebration of commerce?
By Paul R. La Monica, CNNMoney.com senior writer
March 1, 2006: 12:18 PM EST
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Does the almighty dollar really matter most when it comes to Oscar nominations?
According to the most recent figures from movie tracking firm Box Office Mojo, the five Best Picture nominees have combined to sell only $229 million worth of U.S. tickets.
"Crash" is considered one of the favorites for Best Picture. But it's not a box office blockbuster.
Many wonder if ratings for this year's Academy Awards telecast will suffer because of the lack of a huge hit among the major contenders.
Last year's five nominees had grossed about $345 million before the Oscars. And the 2003 Best Picture contenders had already grossed more than $700 million...with more than half of that coming from Best Picture winner "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."
In fact, this year's nominees have been the least successful since the 1986 contenders, which generated only about $200 million leading up to the big night.
As a result, many entertainment insiders are predicting that ratings for the March 5 Academy Awards telecast will be lackluster...despite the draw of popular "fake news" guy Jon Stewart as host.
The conventional wisdom is that people are most interested in the Oscars when big movies that they saw are nominated. But this year's two big favorites -- "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crash" -- grossed only around $130 million combined, or about a third of the take of last year's box office champ "Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith."
Some critics have grumbled that box office hits like "Batman Begins" and "King Kong" were Best Picture-worthy and that nominating movies like them would have shown that the Academy was more in touch with the average moviegoer.
Other "small" movies were snubbed
But should the Academy Awards be about celebrating commercial success?
More often than not, what sells the most tickets isn't necessarily the "best" film. Don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and so did a lot of other people apparently. The movie made almost $300 million. But we're not talking "The Godfather" here.
So that's why I think all the complaints about how this year's crop of nominees is not popular enough are a bunch of hooey. And I'm not alone.
Interestingly, according to research from market research firm Brandimensions, which looked at more than 62,000 online comments about movies from September of last year through Feb. 15, most of the five movies that film fans felt were snubbed by the Academy were also relatively small, independent pictures.
The only one that can be considered a big hit is "Walk the Line," the Johnny Cash bio-pic that has grossed $117.5 million at the box office.
The other four movies that audiences in the Brandimensions study thought were Best Picture-worthy were "The Constant Gardener," "Cinderella Man," "The Squid and the Whale," and "Transamerica." Those four films grossed about $107 million at the box office combined.
"People outside the Hollywood mainstream were the ones making the films that were most compelling," said Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com, a movie industry research site. "It might be an indication of the growing divide in this business. The big studios are more and more focused on making money and making what sells."
Studios can make good movies that make money
Of course, that's not to say that the big studios can't do both. "Crash" is getting a lot of attention because it was produced by a true independent, Lionsgate (Research). But the other four nominees are hardly the products of small companies.
Focus Features, the studio behind "Brokeback Mountain," is owned by News Corp. (Research), which also owns Fox. "Capote" was released by Sony's (Research) Sony Classic Pictures unit. Universal Studios, owned by GE (Research), is behind "Munich." And Time Warner's Warner Independent Pictures released "Good Night, and Good Luck." (Time Warner (Research) also owns CNNMoney.com.)
Still, even though they may not be truly "independent," Pandya argues that the creative forces behind most of these films probably had more control and less interference from the Hollywood bigwigs since these films were not associated with their parent companies' larger studios.
At the end of the day, it's obviously nice when the critics and the mainstream public agree. It's happened before and it probably will happen again. In addition to the final installment of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, other recent big box office smashes that also won Best Picture are "Chicago," "Gladiator," "Titanic," and "Forrest Gump."
But the Oscars shouldn't be reduced to just dollars and cents. Would you really rather watch the Academy Awards this Sunday if the favorites for Best Picture were "Revenge of the Sith" and "War of the Worlds?"
"Brokeback" and Ang Lee win at the Independent Spirit Awards and over "Crash," and since it's mostly the same voting body, that looks like the latent homophobia in Hollywood is a myth?
since there doesn't seem to be a results thread, I'll pop this in here
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood gave George Clooney the respectability that long has eluded his acting career. He won his first Oscar on Sunday for his performance as a weary CIA agent in the oil industry thriller "Syriana."
Clooney's Oscar win cemented his journey from the man once dubbed the "sexiest man alive" by People magazine to a leading Hollywood heavyweight with a passion for making films on risky subjects.
He is also one of Hollywood's best known liberals and an actor who has no qualms about wearing his political heart on his sleeve.
OUT OF TOUCH
"We are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while," Clooney acknowledged referring to an earlier joke by Oscar host Jon Stewart.
"We were the ones who talked about AIDS when it was being whispered. We talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular," he said.
"I'm proud to be part of this Academy. I'm proud to be part of this community. I'm proud to be out of touch," Clooney added.
For his role as U.S. spy Bob Barnes, the handsome leading man gained more than 30 pounds (13.6 kg) to look the part of a haggard man. While filming a scene in which his character is tortured, Clooney was injured and needed several surgeries after rupturing his spinal fluid sack.
Here's another result, just in.
As a result of seeing Salma Hayek as a presenter, I'm feeling a little sticky right now.
But what was with the assymetrical boobies? One was all squooshed.
Cool dress though except for the weird squooshiness.
Whatever squooshiness occurs, she is still hot as hell. By the way, speaking of boobies, I'm thinking Rachel Weisz is a shoe-in for the "best rack of the night" Oscar.
Yeah, they sure did the shiver and shake like jelly on a plate thing. I was checking to see if she was pregnant, maybe in early stages, couldn't tell.
Meanwhile, WHAT was up with the choreography on that song -- ha, it won!! -- "It's hard out here for a pimp."?? It was like from the 80's or something.
Weisz is 6 or 7 months pregnant, depending on which website you read.
I knew those were pregnant boobies!!
The captions were right on her belly, couldn't see much. Did she look pregnant?
Not looking good for Brokeback.
Sounds like Phillip Seymour Hoffman was amazing in Capote, tho.
Brokeback HAS to win this one...
(Best director, Ang Lee.)
I really liked that movie. Looking forward to seeing Brokeback and, really, all of the other contenders.