It's a sad day to be a screener.

A moment of silence, please. The Hollywood Reporter has officially decreed that Oscar screeners are going bye-bye. Why, pray tell? Fear of piracy. After all, the only way for the Jack Sparrows of the cinema to snag and distribute theatrical movies is via those shiny new-fangled Dee Vee Dees that New Line sends Ernest Borgnine every January.

That's why it just took me all of two minutes to find Matchstick Men, Underworld and the yet-to-be released School of Rock on Kazaa.

Not that I plan to watch them, in case Jack Valenti is reading this. Actually, to be honest, I really don't watch pirated movies off of the net. Not because I'm some highly moral person or something, believe me. I'm just too lazy, impatient, and elitist; I 've spent too much money on my tv and sound system to spend the time and energy to procure and view a cheap bootleg. It would be like working two jobs for years and finally buying a Lexus, only to hop on my Schwinn every day to go to work.

So, back to laziness. I'd bet the majority of Academy voters are oozing with laze.
They're not going get up and go see every Oscar-eligible flick. I'm a movie freak, and I still probably wouldn't go see Zus & Zo in a theater. But if I was sent a handy-dandy official screener to watch, the odds of me ever seeing it would go up substantially. That's why screeners exist. Take away the screener, and you know what?

You're essentially killing the Oscar chances of any movie that's not already out on DVD and is considered "small potatoes".

The American Splendors and Lost In Translations of the world need every pair of eyes they can get to have any chance at all in the Oscar department. The big boys almost always wind up squashing the little guys every time anyway; it's downright cruel to give Goliath even more of advantage. Have we learned nothing from the Gladiator debacle? Attica! Attica!

posted by drew on 10/01/2003

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