Are the Oscars Hurting Hollywood?
Friday, February 24, 2012
While it's become an annual rite to complain about the Oscars, aside from the Super Bowl, more Americans still watch the Academy Awards than any other TV show. Contrary to what you might think, Hollywood's biggest night may be hurting the movie industry. At least according to longtime agent and producer Gavin Polone.
Polone, who writes about the entertainment industry for Vulture.com, tells Kurt Andersen that the Oscar-crazed studios are shelling out seven to ten million dollars per Oscar campaign. “It increases the cost-base for all of movie-making and as a result the studios refuse to take more chances,” Polone says. Studios are also expected to provide an “Oscar bump” in the salaries of nominated actors, directors, and producers with no guarantee of extra revenue afterward.
"There's a reason why you don't see an Ordinary People or a Kramer vs. Kramer anymore,” Polone says. Hollywood is “focused on sequels and comic book movies, because that's what's been proven in the past."
While studios play it safe, Polone argues that at the same time, the older, white, male-dominated Academy ignores quality crowd-pleasers, especially comedies. "To me, Letters from Iwo Jima was a snore, but Borat was a great movie that year, and a different movie."
So what if the Oscars ceased to exist? Polone says that Hollywood could use the extra money to take more chances. "Overall, there would be more gems. And there would be better movies. And it would be much better for the business.”
→ What do you think? Are the Oscars bad for movies? How would you make the system better? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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