Desperation for buzz… as desperate as the New York Times for assigning a story about desperation for buzz?
The idea that Phantom of The Opera is the “hot buzz Oscar film,” a notion pretty much started here at MCN a few weeks back, is hardly desperate given the history of the Oscars.
It is easy to scoff at the idea of a Joel Schumacher film starring three relative unknowns. But a look back at the last 25 years of the Oscars turns up Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Amadeus, Platoon, The Last Emperor, Driving Miss Daisy, The English Patient and The Lord of The Rings as eight winners with no major stars at the time of release. (The one exception is Peter O’Toole, in a supporting role, whose three previous roles had been in Supergirl, Creator and Club Paradise. He was, remarkably, not nominated for an Oscar.) In addition, all eight are period movies and only half of the directors had previously been Oscar nominated for directing when nominated for these films, Peter Jackson only for the first film of the trilogy.
The show has sold over 80 million tickets worldwide, which augers well for the box office and like the last two Oscar winners, LOTR:Return of the King and Chicago, it is swathed in familiarity.
The Oscar season has started, like it or not. But the only major difference between this Oscar season and others is that some many of the films HAVE been seen… not that so many films have not been seen. This time last year, the winner and Master & Commander had not yet been seen. But either had Cold Mountain, Monster, Something’s Gotta Give, The Last Samurai, Mona Lisa Smile or House of Sand & Fog.
There are five big films still to come… and they will all be seen in the next three weeks or so.