Will ten 'Best Picture' noms give the Oscars a ratings boost?
Nick James, editor of Sight
That’s why the Academy has extended the list of 'Best Film' nominees from five to ten. Ratings are falling, it is said, because the awards go to lesser-seen prestige movies rather than the money-spinners. But the days when Harvey Weinstein’s campaigns could deliver the prize to his kind of classy indie movie like ‘The English Patient’ or ‘American Beauty’ are over. Those sorts of films aren't made any more – they cost too much to market. So the paucity of good American movies cannot be disguised by extending the list. The front-runners remain the same: ‘Avatar’, ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘Up in the Air’. The rest don’t have a chance.
What’s most noticeable about these films is that only one of them boasts a real movie star. Whether it’s because of lifelike 3D animation, or the fast-cutting style of movies destroying acting, or too much knowledge of private lives giving the stars feet of clay, or Botox restricting their talents, there’s no question that we are witnessing the slow death of the movie star.
Today’s stars are, in any case, nerd stars: witness Kristen Stewart’s very teenage slumping at the Baftas, and her beau, or former beau (who can keep up?), Robert Pattinson mooning about like the most handsome geek in the world. Without the heart-stopping charismatic face-magicians who used to become stars through a kind of visible alchemy – a kind that editing speed no longer allows – the Oscars cannot possibly grab us by the throat or nauseate us the way they used to.
Author: Nick James
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