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Thursday, February 27, 2014

OSCAR WEEK 2014: Dreaming in Gold


Once upon a time, a boy dreamed of winning an Oscar. He wrote and wrote and wrote. Fingers numb and calloused as he searched for the perfect combination of words that created the scenes that would ultimately build a story that could be made into movie that would move the soul. This movie would go on to limp through the box office race, yet be critically acclaimed and eventually get a big publicity push and receive an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay. Eventually, a majority of the Academy voters—comprised mostly of Caucasians (94%) and males (77%)—would select the little script and the boy’s name would engraved in the envelope called during the live ABC telecast from the Dolby Theater.

Yes, a Media Guy can dream. As a matter of fact, dreaming on the red carpet would make an excellent ad campaign for the show one year. After all, we all dream in gold, right?

And dream I did as the red carpet was cobbled together at Hollywood and Highland over the golden stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame across from the El Capitan movie theater. In a couple of days the world’s greatest stars—Leonardo DiCaprio, my one-time golfing buddy Matthew McConaughey, Amy Adams and my future ex-wife Jennifer Lawrence, among others—will be strutting in their $15,000 Haute Couture and Armani tuxedos.

One thing I know for sure is that the Academy Awards is a dream for ABC television. Ad rates for the show are up about 10% to a lofty $1.8 million for thirty seconds of ad time. For those of you keeping score, that’s the second priciest chunk of air time on television. (For those of you living in a cave deprived of proper media, the Super Bowl is the costliest at the astronomical rate of $4 million for a 30-second spot.) If you're choking on the costs, check out this fact: Last year, each commercial was seen by an average of 40+ million viewers. That’s a whole of lot of exposure.

Oh goodness, forty million viewers! I just got a little more nervous practicing my would-be acceptance speech that may not happen for another decade or so.

As a started doubting myself, and pondered what I would do if I didn’t win that beautiful eight-pound statue named after some golden age star joked it looked like her Uncle Oscar, I was told by a reporter from People Magazine (or was it US Weekly?) that each nominee gets an $80,00 SWAG bag. 

A peek into the goodies in the SWAG bag.
You know what SWAG is right? SWAG stands for “Stuff We All Get" (I think). In this case, only the nominees get this level of stuff—all assembled nicely by the LA-based marketing firm Distinctive Assets. What kind of stuff you ask?

We start with a $15,000 tour of Japan, vacations to Mexico and Hawaii, a $9,000 trip to Las Vegas that includes a face-to-face with all or some of the Boyz II Men, a $2,700 O-shot procedure (what’s that? why, of course, a vaginal rejuvenation and enhancement…yikes!), his-and-hers Mace guns, along with various candy maple syrup and artwork.

Time to call my agent because I need that sweet SWAG bag and get into the Oscars nominations discussion. It’s time to walk the red carpet instead of work it.