The Curious Battle for Oscar

Commentary By Andy Rooney

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:



The Oscars are being given out later tonight.

We don't talk a lot about them here at CBS. I never stay up long enough to find out who wins the important awards anyway. Best Picture. Best Actor. Best Actress. All I ever see is Best Makeup, Best Art Director, Best Sound Editing.

They have two awards for acting, one for Best Actor and another for Best Actress. Seems sort of sexist. They have only one award for Best Makeup. It can be a man or a woman.

And that's true of Best Screenplay, too.

I don't see many movies so I decide who I want to win from the ads in the newspapers. I figure the movie with the biggest ad is the best.

This year that's “Lord Of The Rings.” Four full pages in the New York Times, about a $100,000 a page. I'll bet the advertising for “Lord Of The Rings” cost more than it cost to make some of these movies.

I'm suspicious of any product when they spend more to advertise it than they do to make it.

“Lord Of The Rings” is called "a joyfully conceived work of cinema." I don't go to the cinema. I go to the movies.

Dirty movies are easy to spot in these ads.

They don't come right out and say a movie's dirty. They say “Last Order” is "bawdy." “Forty Days And Forty Nights” is called "racy".

If a movie's really dirty they call it "erotic."

This Mexican film “Y Tu Mama Tambien” must be filthy dirty because they call it "wildly erotic."

Some things in newspaper ads don't make me want to see a movie at all: "Based on a true story." If I go to the movies, I don't care whether it's true or not. If I want a true story, I'll stay home and watch the Evening News.

Some of these aren't even up for awards this year. “We Were Soldiers.” "Palpable Film Making Passion"? Does that make you want to go see that movie? It makes me want to go to the dictionary to see what "palpable" means.

They need some new adjectives, in these ads, too. "Ice Age" is called “heartwarming.” "Harrison's Flowers" is “engrossing.” "In the Bedroom" is “powerful.” "Time Machine" is “dazzling.” "Dragonfly" is called “absorbing.” "Monster's Ball" is called “unforgettable." If I've ever seen a movie that was unforgettable, I've forgotten what it was.

Maybe I'll go to the movies tonight instead of watching the Oscars. I'll bet I wouldn't have to stand in line tonight.

I'll see an absorbing, powerful, unforgettable cinematic triumph that's palpably erotic.
  • David Kohn

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