Join Nikki Finke at 5:30 PM PT for her annual Oscar Live-Snarking!
EXCLUSIVE: What is maybe the most anticipated Academy Awards in recent memory is also mutating into what could be one of the longest Oscars in Hollywood history. I can feel a yawnfest coming on already. Sources tells me that last week the show clocked in at 3 hours and 40 minutes. Then it was shortened. But now the telecast doesn’t even commence presenting the Best Picture Oscar until after 3 hours and 23 minutes. And that’s only if everything goes according to schedule – which it never does. The telecast’s opening number lasts a full 15 minutes in what is the prelude to the most music-filled Academy Awards ever. So this could easily become an Oscar ceremony lasting 4-plus hours. (The longest on record is 4 hours, 23 minutes in 2002.) That’s not good news for longtime Academy Awards broadcaster ABC whose research demonstrates that, after 11 PM East Coast Time, the network loses 100,000 people per minute. That could hurt ratings for Sunday’s show which contains more suspense than in recent years. At around $1.7 million to $1.8 million for a 30-second spot, the Disney-owned ABC has sold out its ad inventory at prices higher than the network has charged since 2008 when the economy started to tank.
I’m usually in the habit of proclaiming doom and gloom every time these marquee Hollywood awards celebrate the movie season. But not this time around. Because I don’t anticipate a snorefest. Rarely have so many of the 24 categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Screenplays, and more been up for grabs. Is it Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain or the 85-year-old French star Emmanuelle Riva of Amour? Is it Steven Spielberg or Ang Lee or dark horse David O Russell? Is it Argo or Lincoln or shocker Silver Linings Playbook? Nobody knows for sure. (more…)