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February 28, 2008

No country for young men


It's the movies, stupid.

There's been much analysis and speculation about why the Oscar ratings were in the crapper this year with "reasons" ranging from the writers strike (not enough time to put together a quality show, not enough original programming to draw eyeballs to ABC to see Academy Awards promos) to too-dark indie nominees and nonhousehold names that most viewers weren't familiar with (more on that soon).

Especially hard hit were the ratings for the all-important whippersnapper demo (that would be the 18-34-year-olds that advertisers care about).

For a POV from one of the aforementioned young 'uns, check out 22-year-old Josh Richmond's musings on our brother blog, Past Deadline, who says that the ceremony could interest him and his friends if it actually dug in, burrowed around and told us something about the nominated movies.

Isn't that why we're all there to begin with?

Interviews with the people who made those films, behind-the-scenes nuggets, tall tales, whatever -- he's just suggesting that if the show detailed why "No Country for Old Men" and the others were so worthy of honor (in some concrete terms, please) that more viewers might get into that telecast.

We were about to suggest a comeback of streaking, but what do we know?


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Ginger Garver

The Oscars were never intended to be The People's Choice Awards. This year some of the most daring and critically acclaimed films and performances won. That is as it sould be. Given the arrray of entertainment and media choices for young people, no films,not even popular ones, could attract a huge audience of 20 somethings. Add to that the fragmentation of the contemporary film audience audience, and 30 million US viwers doe not seem so bad.

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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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