It's a classic catch-22: Oscar buzz means more theaters and bigger profits for smaller films, but how do you create buzz for the Oscars themselves if a high percentage of the nominated films are barely booked in most of the country's theaters? That's the gist of an article by Micheline Maynard, in today's New York Times, which sites this year's dropping ratings for the Golden Globes as evidence that most of the country isn't getting exposure to the nominated films. Marian Koltai-Levine, executive vice president for marketing at psuedo-indie Fine Line Films, and this article's antagonist, quotably disagrees:
Ms. Koltai-Levine said the Golden Globes did not have low ratings because viewers were unable to see the movies: the problem lay with their less familiar nominees. "More independent films were nominated, and people didn't know the talent," she said. "It all depends on who's on the cover of The Star and Us Weekly."
Huh. So what you're saying is, The Academy has a responsibility to nominate Jessica Simpson for an
Oscar in order to maintain its currency. Hmm. Interesting argument…
Maynard goes on to quote a Midwestern moviegoer, who feels as though it's futile to take the time to invest interest in the discourse surrounding critically acclaimed films that may or may not play where she lives, "because it doesn't pertain to your life in this small part of the world."
I've not always lived in New York City, and I remember even in San Francisco and Chicago it was sometimes a struggle to see films that my friends in New York or Los Angeles had a month or more to catch at their leisure. But I also don't see how giving a film like Vera Drake a release on the scale of Ocean's Twelve could be anything but a financial (not to mention ideological) disaster.
What do you think?