Ponying Up To The Art House

USA TODAY: Critics must be thrilled that the splashiest Oscar nominations Tuesday went to high-minded yet low-budget and mostly R-rated films.
But those who follow the money gave mixed reviews to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ best-picture finalists: Brokeback Mountain; Capote; Crash; Good Night, and Good Luck; and Munich.
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The films, targeted to relatively narrow audiences, might not attract lots of fans to the March 5 Oscar show on ABC with first-time host Jon Stewart.
Some on Wall Street say that overlooking big films with big stars — such as Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds, Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith— also risks leaving audiences yawning at the awards. The broadcast could suffer if such celebrities merely walk the red carpet or don’t show up at all.
Yet, Coca-Cola, back on the Academy Awards after seven years’ hiatus, is unfazed. “We view the Oscars as destination programming and a great place to feature advertising for our brands,” says spokeswoman Susan McDermott.
Others say the famously box-office-minded Academy for once might be ahead of the curve by spotlighting films about complex issues and people.
“One of the biggest complaints about 2005 was that the movies weren’t that good,” says Exhibitor Relations President Paul Dergarabedian. “But these movies highlight the fact that Hollywood does have something to offer.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.