So many of you mentioned you didn’t care one whit about the Academy Awards. I just smiled. Once again, I’m aware that I’m influenced by my environment.
I can’t ignore Oscar talk unless I completely unplug from television, radio and print media.
The hype began a full week ago with the local reporters crying about street closures and security measures, warning to stay clear of particular intersections. That’s just a recipe for traffic congestion.
Now, 24-hours after the last award was presented, I’m sitting here listening to my radio while talk show hosts are still animated about the event. It’s the usual rehashing of what worked and what didn’t but I’m reasonably certain this is only a local conversation.
I am quite sure you aren’t thinking about The Oscar Economy!
I’m not talking about the local economy’s direct boost from the film industry–not the jobs that are generated by all the supporting crafts while movies are being made. Oh no!
Let’s start with the Best Picture campaign, shall we? How badly does the studio want their film to win in this category? Follow the money. Full page ads in Variety Magazine and other trade publications can cost up to 15 million dollars or more.
No one would really want to BUY an award, would they?
Shall we pause a minute just taking that in? $15 million!
And I don’t know why the celebrity attendees needed party favors, but according to USA Today, we don’t need to feel too badly for those who didn’t win a statuette. They still walked away with swag bags valued at more than $47,000.
Staggering, isn’t it? Well, not as amazing as what is included in the party bag.
How about a $12,000 trip to Lizard Island in Australia?
And there’s my personal favorite, a $5,000 Vampire face lift! I didn’t make this up. I’m not sure I want details, but your own blood is somehow involved in this procedure.
Then there’s the food. What did you have for dinner last night? I had a Panini.
The celebrities ate a little better.
Wolfgang Puck reported spending $25,000 on truffles for the Governors Ball menu. I like truffles, but in the end that’s a lot of money for mushrooms!
$42,000 of Möet & Chandon bubbly was served at the after party, and after all that drinking, it’s probably a very good thing that most celebrities were escorted by a car and driver–at between $1,000 and $3750. But to be fair, maybe that’s not too extravagant–do you think the celebrities carpooled?
Don’t forget gowns and jewelry, much of it on loan, but there are hair and makeup expenses–quoted as high as $11,000 for just the styling and in-home spa services.
Add to the other expenses personal security detail at up to $3,000 for the night, and then, of course, the Oscar himself–the little gold men cost somewhere close to $500 a piece.
So perhaps this is why there is so much Oscar talk in Los Angeles. That is a lot of money being poured into the local economy. I like thinking of the companies and individuals who benefit, but the over-the-top glitz, glamor and excess is a little shocking.
I was delighted to see the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” win the Oscar in the Best Documentary category. Sixto Rodriguez failed to make an impact in North America in the early 1970s, but his albums gained airplay in South Africa, Botswana, Rhodesia, New Zealand and Australia.
The thing that makes this story more interesting, however, is that Rodriguez gave up his American career, with no idea he’d gained Elvis-level notoriety and fame, particularly in South Africa where his songs served as anti-Apartheid anthems influencing many musicians to protest the government.
I don’t want to spoil the impact and surprises in this story so I won’t add more details, except to say the documentary is really quite remarkable.
And in contrast to Hollywood celebrity narcissism, this very talented, but humble man avoided coming to the Oscar event, with no need for the limelight and attention.
Swedish director, Malik Bendejelloul said, “Rodriguez isn’t here tonight, because he didn’t want to take any of the credit himself and that just about says everything about that man and his story you’d want to know.”
This is a fabulous, inspiring story and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all. This humble man is very talented, and doesn’t seem to carry disappointment or regret about all the years he was presumed dead, losing out on music royalties and the attention that comes with celebrity.
I wonder how many of Sunday nights Oscar crowd could say the same?
The video tells quite a bit of the story, so if you’d rather not know how some of the mystery of his past unfolds, skip the YouTube and just go out and rent the DVD. You won’t be disappointed!