The L.A. Times breaks down how Crash beat the buzz: with a Rovian promotional campaign that specifically targeted actors, who make up 22 percent of the Academy ranks, by far the biggest segment demographically. (And if you have spent much time in the company of actors, you might start to understand a lot of what makes Oscar tick–for instance, the love of challenging roles like the mentally or physically handicapped.) Most people don’t realize the amount of awards marketing that goes on in L.A. It’s not just ads in the trades–it’s giveaway “screener” DVDs, scripts, and so forth. Sadly the big push for Cinderella Man didn’t translate into awards like it did for Crash. Best line from the article: “Like a cinematic John Edwards, Brokeback peaked too early and its Oscar buzz dissipated.” Interesting comparison, I thought with a wry smile and an arched eyebrow.
Cathy Seipp applauds Matt Dillon and I can testify that he is indeed a good guy. How do I know? Same personal trainer, baby. And they know everything.
I have to think that Tom Hanks was doing a bit with Jon Stewart and the orchestra and not actually losing his temper. He may have been actually swearing as part of the bit, but Hanks is a consummate pro and in my opinion the chance that he would completely lose it like that onstage is slim.
And finally, the ratings for the telecast were down but not as bad as was feared initially when the nominees were announced. Pure and simple, the Oscar telecast is driven by star power, and this was not a year for the heavens.