The 401st Blow :: Thoughts On Media

Nine Minutes Of Nothing

Posted in Content, Rant by Noah Harlan on September 5, 2009

I just listened to Matt Holzman’s nine minute piece interviewing new Academy president, Tom Sherak and I realized that I just wasted nine minutes.

There was a time when The Business was a really great show featuring incisive interviews with Hollywood players but with each passing week since Claude Brodesser-Akner ceded his position as host to Kim Masters the show becomes softer and softer. It now is skating downhill towards being a radio version of Entertainment Tonight; nothing but fluff pieces and hand jobs.

To wit: the interview with Tom Sherak.

Let me state that both Mr. Sherak and Mr. Holzman seem like nice guys and I acknowledge that being head of the Academy is not like being head of the MPAA, a position of major political power.  However, if you had Mr. Sherak for an extended interview, what would you ask? I would want to know how the Academy is dealing with the blurring definition of theatrical in the digital age. I would want to know why they insist on hurting independent documentary filmmakers with archaic rules. I would want to know what the Academy will do about the problematic rules governing foreign (language) films that has seen several films knocked out of contention for the Oscars due to hair-splitting over language definitions.

What did we get? I present a selection of Mr. Holzman’s questions (some of these are paraphrased for length; this is not a complete list):

Will you make a speech at the Oscars? I’ve heard your speeches and they’re kinda’ great…

Where does the president sit?

Why don’t you want to give up your old seats?

So you really want to sit behind the stars?

Is it a problem that the Oscars don’t cause a box office bounce for the studios?

What are you going to do about the old people who vote in the lesser categories like docs & foreign?

As king of the academy what do you want to change? [Answer: Sid Ganis’ chair, it hurts his back]


Mr. Holzman, your Peabody Award is in the mail.


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