For years I ran an office pool on the Oscars and did very well. I’ve since dropped the gambling which was a smart move because over the last few years my predictions have not matched well with the Academy members. As we approach the March 7th awards show it’s worth noting a pretty big change. This year they have added 5 additional films as part of the Best Picture category. That’s 10, instead of the usual 5. What will this mean? I believe that it won’t have much impact on the outcome this year, but looking ahead it could set the stage for an underdog film slipping in ahead of a studio juggernaut. One injustice that will be eliminated by adding more best pic nominations is that lone director who is nominated but her/his picture isn’t.
It was a pretty good year for Hollywood. Total box office was $10.6Bn, a 7% rise over prior year. Ticket prices rose to $7.50 from $7.18 in 2008. This increase was helped by the growing number of 3D releases that cost more to film, and therefore cost more to see. I explored this in more depth in an earlier post. This trend will continue in 2010. Another healthy sign is the number of tickets sold; 1.4Bn in 2009 vs. the 1.3Bn in 2008. There are a number of factors at work here. Franchise pictures like Transformers, Harry Potter, Star Trek and the emerging Twilight attract repeat viewings. Also, there were some pretty powerful children targeted films, Up, Monsters vs. Aliens and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which benefit from the youngsters wanting to see them over and over.
As this is not an official ballot and for brevity, I have chosen only 10 categories for this poll. It in no way suggests the other categories are of lesser value. Whether you are a serious handicapper or someone who only votes for their favorites, let’s hear it.
Box office stats from the-numbers.com