In keeping with Oscar Weekend, check out Jeff Bridges' behind-the-scenes panoramic photos of the making of True Grit.
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Oh, and an urban myth alert: you might hear yet again this weekend the old canard about how "three billion" people watch the Oscar broadcast. No such thing—that was merely one wag's long-ago estimate of the total population of all the countries where the Academy Awards are broadcast. Lots of people watch the Oscars, but it's never been among the top most-viewed shows. Major sporting events hold most of the records (the Packers' recent Super Bowl win is #1 in U.S. history, and seven others in the U.S. Top Ten are Super Bowls). Complicating the issue is that no one tracks worldwide viewing—it's only done country-by-country, and only in some countries. In the U.S., the M*A*S*H finale—which unfortunately wasn't very good—ranks highly, and in the U.K., Princess Diana's funeral drew a large viewership. The best guesses put the global TV audiences for the Oscars at 40 to 60 million. The true number is probably nearer the low end of that range, and count people who watch only part of the broadcast (nearly everyone—most of whom will be rooting for one of the subset of films they happen to have seen. I saw The King's Speech yesterday, and will definitely be rooting for that).
Personally, I think there should be a Bizarro Oscars where they rate and give awards for movies that came out five or ten years ago. Of course, that would have little commercial value to the studios (or would it, now that DVD and streaming video are so big?), but it takes a little perspective to know what's good. Oscar often gets it wrong, chiefly because they're trying to appraise the merit of films that are too new. (Will anyone be watching Black Swan ten years from now?)
Which means that right now we'd be debating the merits of these films. (Ah, well, maybe it's not such a good idea after all...although The Man Who Wasn't There, which I was talking about just yesterday, happens to have come out in 2001.)
(Thanks to Marty)
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.