The Publicist

Face it: Real men don't watch the Oscars, so leave us alone

Face it: Real men don't watch the Oscars, so leave us alone

There are only two seasons in LA. A combined spring, summer, and autumn - known as "sprummerfall" - and awards season. We don't usher in a new year on January 1 - we ring in Oscar and all his cousins, friends, and hangers-on.

Like typical relatives, they arrive too early and leave too late. As with your lazy 18-year-old nephew in particular, they're all about the "buzz."

Last week, I received a dozen e-mails regarding one award or another. One concerned the fashion designer a certain actress will be wearing, another the contents of the swag bags given to presenters. Still another offered "exclusive" interviews with a B-list client who had been asked to present some sort of award for hair designs. Hmmm... maybe... if I can get a free haircut in the deal. So many publicists are involved in all facets of awards season that a run on clipboards at Office Depot is always a concern. Consider: Every actor, filmmaker, and presenter at each ceremony has a publicist. Likewise, the networks broadcasting the shows, the organizations granting the kudos, and the corporate sponsors. Got publicists? Hell, yeah. How many ya want?

Nevertheless, all the king's horses and publicists have been unable to mend the falling TV ratings of the granddaddy of them all, the Academy Awards. It's attributable, I think, to the lack of crowd-favorite honorees (so many awards, so little to reward) and the lack of a perennial host, the selection of which seems more like a PR stunt than a smart programming consideration.

Seriously, did anyone think Chris Rock would be an appropriate emcee last year? Or that Jon Stewart is any better of a pick this year? He makes a living mocking the sort of people who will be seated in front of him. ABC is desperate to boost male viewership and hopes Stewart's Daily Show audience will follow the Nielsen ratings' yellow brick road all the way to Oscarville. Not likely. Young men simply have better things to do on a Sunday night. (Women presumably do, too, but choose otherwise.) Short of having "extreme actress-on-actress" action or a bare-knuckle brawl between Russell Crowe and The Rock, you simply aren't going to draw the 20- to 45-year-old men away from their sports, computers, Xboxes or pay-per-view monster truck rallies. So quit trying, ABC. Real men don't watch the Oscars. Just give the ladies what they want: Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. ESPN has the rest of us covered.

Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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