Saturday, January 24, 2009

Low ratings ahead for 2009 Oscar telecast

The Oscar nominations are out and I’m like Bill Murray when he used to do his Oscar picks on “Saturday Night Live.”
Murray would have a board with the nominee names on magnets. He’d quickly toss most of them off, saying, “Didn’t see it … didn’t see it … didn’t see it.”
When I was younger I used to see most of the Best Picture nominees before the awards telecast. Now I’m lucky to see one or two beforehand and usually those are available on DVD. When you have young kids at home, it’s hard to get out and see movies targeted to adults.
I mostly use awards season now to fill up my Netflix queue with quality films to watch later, when they’re out on video disc.
I’m probably not alone. Perhaps that is why the Oscar awards show ratings have been declining. Fewer people are seeing the nominated films in the theater. And they’re not interested in the telecast because they haven’t seen many of the films yet, unless they’re out on DVD.
Based on that assumption, this year's Oscar telecast should be a low-rated affair. All of the Best Picture nominees are currently in theaters and only one would classify as a mainstream hit.
I’ve seen none of the five films up for Best Picture this year. I saw “The Dark Knight” and “WALL-E,” but they didn’t get nods for the top prize.
I have little interest in seeing “Frost/Nixon” (stage adaptations usually aren’t very cinematic), “Milk” (I don’t like Sean Penn and I’m tired of bio pics) and “The Reader” (got the weakest reviews of the five – only 60% favorable reviews on Another effective lobbying campaign by the Weinstein brothers).
I do want to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” the only hit film of the bunch. It’s based on a story by my cousin F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Way to represent, Scott!) I also like the work of director David Fincher.
The final nominee, “Slumdog Millionaire,” is a must-see. I’m a fan of director Danny Boyle.
Even if I haven't seen many of the nominated films, I'll still watch the Oscar telecast Sun. Feb. 22 on ABC. It's the Super Bowl for film buffs.
(Above photo from

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