CATEGORIES Movies, Oscars

Studios are getting personal with Academy Award voters.

The latest ploy to garner Oscar votes is via intimate soirees with producers, studio chiefs or stars, according to a report in the The Hollywood Reporter. Voters are given relatively close proximity with a movie's stars and creative teams and often there are other stars involved in the pitch.
Studios are getting personal with Academy Award voters.

The latest ploy to garner Oscar votes is via intimate soirees with producers, studio chiefs or stars, according to a report in the The Hollywood Reporter. Voters are given relatively close proximity with a movie's stars and creative teams and often there are other stars involved in the pitch.

To promote Tobey Maguire in 'Brothers,' Leonardo DiCaprio hosted a party for him, paid by 'Brothers' money men Relativity Media, according to the report. Maguire was subsequently nominated for a best actor Golden Globe for his role.

Other new tricks include "private" screenings with stars, theme parties and performances by well-known musicians. Willie Nelson played at a screening of 'Crazy Heart,' which features his music, hosted by Peter Bogdanovich and Callie Khouri.

The trend apparently started with the pitching of 'Gladiator' in 2000. The DreamWorks/Universal film was shown to invitees in a Century City spot followed by a Q&A with the creative team. 'Gladiator' went on to win five Oscars.

The events are permissible under Academy rules that prohibit inviting only Oscar voters as they also invite voters from other award-giving organizations.

The Oscar race to this point has been a five-month marketing campaign of presentations, parties, galas, advertisements and early Web buzz, writ large. Studios have been criticized for their over-spending and ostentation during Oscar season. Some studios have been known to spend up to $40 million for their campaigns for big films.

Yet, the volume has been coming down in recent year, and successfully so for a few films. 2004's 'Million Dollar Baby' won best picture with minimal campaigning and 'Crash' succeeded over the hype for 'Brokeback Mountain' the following year, noted a 2007 Hollywood Reporter story.

In the current period of economic downtown, it probably is PR-savvy to promote a little quieter. And winning is all that matters, isn't it?