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May 1998, Week 1


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Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 1 May 1998 11:15:46 BST
TEXT/PLAIN (54 lines)
On Thu, 30 Apr 1998 16:11:24 -0400 Murray Pomerance wrote:
> Is there anybody here who has anything to say about either (a) the Oscar,
> or (b) films that have won the Oscar, or (c) the process or winning of
> the Oscar, or (d) what we make of films that win the Oscar, or (e)
> anything related to these themes, that is *not just* putting down
> Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the dolts who
> admire the Oscars and the Oscar-winners, commercial vs. artistic film,
> the filmic establishment, etc.?  It's not that I don't want to critique
> these entitites--I surely do.  But I'm just getting tired of hearing and
> reading the same thing over and over in so many languages.
At the risk of stating the obvious: Oscars are a celebration of Hollywood's
 ability to make money,
and very little more.  To support the notion of Hollywood's trade organisation
 being some sort of
"academy", with all the discourses about art and intellectualism this implies,
 the occasional Oscar
(or nomination) is dished out to a film which is deemed to be culturally
 successful but
commercially indifferent, Egoyan's being one in point.  But the essential
 purpose of the Oscars is
an advertising exercise.
The day after this last ceremony, my cinema received two "Titanic" trailers,
 identical to the ones
we had already but for a title on the end which read "Winner of 9 Oscars" and
 some self-adhesive
"Winner of 9 Oscars" banners, with instructions that they should be stuck on
 whatever posters
we happened to have up.  Two points emerge from this: (i) TCF must have prepared
 these long
before the ceremony itself, and (ii) they wouldn't have bothered doing so unless
 they believed
that advertising the fact that "Titanic" won 9 Oscars would have a direct
 bearing on its
performance at the box office.
None of the publicity material for "The Sweet Hereafter" mentioned Egoyan's
 nomination, nor did
the occasion of its nomination prompt any more aggressive marketing on the part
 of its
distributor.  I would guess that the reason is that the kind of patron who comes
 to see an Egoyan
film couldn't give a four-x about the Oscars.  For the kind of patron who comes
 to "Titanic", they
indicate that the film has something special to offer.
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