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December 24, 2008

The high cost of Oscar

Forgettingsarahmarshall_galleryposter If Hollywood studios will fork over $70 million to market a movie, should it come as a surprise that the majors will shell out upwards of $15 million in the all-consuming quest for major awards?

Ever since Harvey Weinstein, back in the Miramax days, started his tsunami-like Oscar wave, everyone's wondered just how that's done.

For a rare peek under the kimono of the Specialists, that would be those awards publicists who craft Oscar campaigns that can lead the obscure to the gold, spending a lot of dough along the way, go here.

In other pre-holiday bits today:

For those who thought the full monty Jason Segel was the most memorable moment in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," well then, you just didn't see the same movie we did. Nor could you have been as moved as we were by "Dracula's Lament," where the unceremoniously dumped character let his (horror) musical flag fly.

The instant camp classic is one of 49 songs eligible to compete in February's Oscar race for best original song. Among the others: Clint Eastwood's raspy "Gran Torino" from the drama of the same name, Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" from the gritty Mickey Rourke grappler story, "Rock Me Sexy Jesus," one of the best things about "Hamlet 2," and a whole boatload of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" ditties. Full list here.

If there's such a thing as a Queasy Underage Sweepstakes for this season's awards flicks, we'll step up and declare the winner. It's "The Reader!" Kate Winslet's misguided justifications be damned, this is hands down the child molesting-est film -- Awards Caliber or otherwise -- that we've seen in a very long time. Ick! And by the way, you don't even want to know what this trophy looks like.


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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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