The Super Bowl of the entertainment industry, the Oscar Awards telecast has been sagging in the ratings in recent years because even hard-core movie fans have come to see it as the tail-end of months of speculation, campaigning and countless preliminary awards.
When I was a kid back in the Jurassic age — pre-cable, pre-VCR/DVD, pre-Internet — the Oscar show was just about the only TV show of the 1960s and 1970s that celebrated movies, so it was the only place a home viewer could see stars like Rex Harrison, Julie Christie, and Rod Steiger on the small screen, as well as clips from the movies for which they were being honored.
The Academy Awards hasn’t sunk as low as the Miss America Pageant in terms of TV watching — yet! — but how can you get really excited about another self-aggrandizing Hollywood celebration after you’ve seen the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards and even the satellite transmission of the British Academy Awards?
In the old days, there were more surprises on Oscar night for TV viewers because nobody outside show business paid much attention to the advance campaigning or the fewer number of preliminary awards that existed then.
Because there are so many indicators of who will win the Oscars now, it isn’t easy to get excited by seeing Star X pick up his or her fourth or fifth award in the space of two months.
I love Christopher Plummer and am thrilled that he is finally in a position to win a gold statuette but he has already been showered with honors — deservedly — for his work on “Beginners.” There won’t be much drama in the opening of the envelope for best supporting actor Sunday night unless Plummer does not win.
Sorry folks, but because of the way the lead-up to the Oscars has changed, I will have to follow the pack in forecasting the top six categories below: