Studios are busy hyping undeserving Oscar candidates |


Studios are busy hyping undeserving Oscar candidates

Rebecca Ascher-Walsh names names, and explains why Hollywood is rushing to tout its losers

Studios are busy hyping undeserving Oscar candidates

It’s only a matter of weeks before the nominations are announced, and I, for one, will admit to Oscar madness. I have forgotten that it usually ends up like a high school prom: filled with anticipation, worth checking out to see what the other kids are wearing, but in the end, maybe a little too filled with dance numbers to be that exciting, after all. I admit it. Every year, I make too much out of nothing.

But at least (until now), I’ve kept it to myself. Unlike certain studios, which for some reason, feel comfortable taking out very public, very full-page ads in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter reminding Academy voters not to miss the boat – even when it’s the ”Titanic.” To wit: Paramount, unable to narrow down the phenomenal work done by all on ”The General’s Daughter,” throws out 17 categories to be considered in its ad, including… costume design. Now, maybe the studio saw a different cut of the movie than I did, but the one that hit the theaters offered a maximum of two wardrobe choices: military fatigues, or – in the case of the unfortunate daughter in question – nada.

Then there’s Universal’s plea for Hugh Grant as best actor in ”Notting Hill.” Alright, he was charming and showed his dimples to their best effect, but somehow his playing a character who puts up with a smelly roommate doesn’t seem to belong in the same category as Denzel Washington enduring wrongful imprisonment as Rubin ”Hurricane” Carter.

But wait – there’s more: Universal also begs us to consider Philip Noyce as best director for ”The Bone Collector” (watch out, Michael Mann and Anthony Minghella!), Touchstone asks you to check out not one but eight candidates for best supporting actor in ”Cradle Will Rock,” and another five for best supporting actress (OK, it was an ensemble, but please), and Warner Bros. throws out Clint Eastwood’s ”True Crime” as best picture (what was that movie about again?).

It doesn’t make a lot of sense, except that studios want to stay in bed with the talent – even when they’re not at their most talented. And once a year, they’re willing to enter lala land to do so. But hey, I?m sympathetic: I?m betting all my money on ”South Park.”