Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Will 'Eclipse' Trailer Hype Up Oscar Rating?

If there's one thing Academy Awards producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman should have learned from the 2009 telecast, it's that Hollywood loves a hit.

Initial reviews of the Hugh Jackman-hosted extravaganza were mixed. And the feeling inside the Governors Ball that night was that the show's new pieces of flair -- "innovations" such as carting out former acting winners to awkwardly praise nominees they likely didn't care much about -- merely added a lighter shade of rouge to the aging starlet.

But ratings went up. About 10% more people watched, reversing the downward spiral of the past few years. And voila! -- the show has been deemed a success almost universally ever since.

As Mechanic and Shankman put together their plan for the 82nd annual ceremony March 7, they should be mindful that their efforts will be criticized unless they lure more eyeballs while still maintaining the aura of the Oscars as Hollywood's most esteemed evening of pomp and self-celebration.

Here's how: Introduce movie trailers to the show.

Think about it. At five strategically timed slow points in the ceremony, a major star could appear to introduce a two-minute clip of never-before-seen footage from an upcoming film. Every major studio, mini-major and specialty division would be invited to enter a lottery for the five slots, the only rule being that the winning studios' clips -- any clip; it can be something from a prestige project or from "Iron Man 2" -- has never been seen before.

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