Oscar fever hots up as studios splash out on gifts
Their billboards tower over the streets of Hollywood, their broadcast spots clog the commercial breaks between primetime TV shows, and their print advertisements fill the pages of almost every LA-based publication.
In its hometown the Oscar race is unavoidable, and just like last year's US presidential rivals, this year's nominees for Best Picture are expected to contest the most expensive awards campaign in history.
The studios behind Ben Affleck's Iran hostage drama 'Argo' and Steven Spielberg's presidential biopic 'Lincoln', the two leading contenders for Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, are both estimated to have spent around $10m (€7.5m) on their campaigns.
Members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, for example, were given four Lincoln-themed books – including a Civil War-era recipe book – ahead of the Critics' Choice Awards, at which the film went on to win prizes for Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Score. Universal sent the same set of voters an iPod shuffle containing the 'Les Miserables' soundtrack.
The spending may sound ludicrous, but an Academy boost can send a film's box office soaring. 'Slumdog Millionaire' grossed $44m (€33m) when it was nominated for Best Picture in 2009. After it won that Oscar (and seven others) it went on to earn $377m (€282m) worldwide. (© Independent News Service)