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February 25, 2008

Blame game


Do not -- do not -- blame Jon Stewart for the ratings washout that was last night's Oscar telecast.

There's only so much a guy can do when he has to work around clip reels and montages that quite obviously were slapped together for Show B (or C or D) and instead sucked up valuable air time on Show A. How else to explain the existence of those bits, which squatted on real estate that could've contained a) more nominee speeches b) more excerpts from their performances and c) anything vaguely interesting

THR reports this morning that the show on ABC last night was a ratings dud, down 21% from last year. In fact, it was the lowest rated Academy Awards show in at least two decades.

Reasons could be obvious: writers strike caused all the networks to go into reruns, and fewer eyeballs were there to watch those ABC repeats and the Oscar promos sprinkled throughout. The net's ratings were down 36% in the weeks leading up The Big Show.

Or even more obvious: when there's no "Titanic," "Lord of the Rings" or other populist nominee, fewer people care about the bloated back-slap that is the Oscars. (Though "Juno" has made well over $120 million at the boxoffice, so that theory is quickly strained).

Lesson to be learned? Flying by the seat of their pants -- taking risks, jumping off a cliff -- would've made for a better show. And that will never, ever happen.


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Vickey  Saito

I'm also saddened by the memorial clip at the Oscars. No mention of a nominee this year for Costume Designer Marit Allen. You would think that they would pay at least a small tribute to a nominee's untimely death!!!!!

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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