the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Oscar to DVD Watchers: Drop Dead!


Did you notice during the Oscars, that the Academy seemed a bit desperate to tell us over and over again that a movie theater was "the only place to watch a movie?"   As the BBC noted:

Just to make sure no-one missed the message, the stage was even set up like the entrance to a movie theatre, complete with ticket office. Clearly, Hollywood was taking the chance of grabbing its worldwide TV audience to preach its anti-piracy message to as many people as possible.

Of course, most of the Academy get to see the nominated movies on DVDs sent to their homes.   And most of them watched it in their private movie theaters.  Or at special invitation-only showings at the studios.  


Hell, even Sophia got DVDs mailed to her for the SAG awards.

I’ve been to hundreds of movies in Los Angeles, and not once have I ever bumped into Steven Spielberg or Nicole Kidman on line for popcorn at my local multiplex. 


Perhaps, as a show of solidarity with moviegoers everywhere, the Academy should encourage all members to stop watching movies at home and…

LOUD MUSIC starts to play, as Bill Conti and his ORCHESTRA drown out the rest of my blog post —


  1. The Retropolitan

    Maybe I’d go to the movies if they had a better lineup. Daredevil? Deliver Us From Eva? Kangaroo Jack?

    One marsupial movie at the box office is one marsupial movie too many.

  2. Megarita

    I have to completely second this. If it wasn’t “Piracy: BAD” it was “Hollywood: Social Revolutionary!” And both made me giggle. I think only Clooney and Stewart seemed to relish the irony. Oh, Hollywood, what a harsh and clueless mistress you are.

  3. MA

    If famous actors and actresses could figure out how to live around everyone else, then I suppose that they could go to the movies.

    I think that they should donate the oscar gift bags to others.

  4. jenny

    Whoa, whoa! What’s with all the hate? Don’t you know that it’s hard out here for a pimp?

    [Really, that had no relevance to your post, but that heinous song is now stuck in my head, so I’m trying to pass it along. Enjoy!]

  5. Needra

    i have to agree with Jenny, that song was truely horrid! I am still in shock that it won. you know our society is failing as a whole, when we are promoting pimps.

    *shakes head*
    i just doesn’t make sense….

  6. Alissa

    Horrible song? Really? I’m glad Three6Mafia won, they were the most enthusiastic and gracious winners of the evening. Besides, Reese, I thought her acceptance speech was very sweet. She’ll become the new poster child for patriotism.

  7. Serena

    I have to admit that, while I enjoy curling up on the couch with a movie, I love the experience of a movie theater.

  8. cruisin-mom

    Where’s a streaker when you need one.

  9. Trix

    Personally, I prefer watching movies in the comfort of my own home. I’m not fond of people staring at me while I’m making out.

  10. pia

    Thought about that myself. Live eight blocks in either direction from huge multiplexs–and can go at off hours, like uh 11AM Monday, so I do

    But when I review, or I’m just not that interested—DVD please

    Though I no longer review because that took all the fun out of the movies, and movies should be fun, unless they’re supposed to be depressing

  11. Bill

    I was half expecting the Hollywood police to break down my doors and drag me away since I watch movies almost exclusively on DVD.

    While I can understand the concern about piracy the equation DVD = piracy seems moronic. Don’t those idiots make money on DVD sales and rentals? If not, they need better business managers.

    If their concern is ROI, they might want to consider spending less on salaries and bling. They also might want to consider a few movies that don’t involve spandex and CGI – maybe something with an actual story?

  12. Hope

    I always loved the message they had on before the previews in the movie theaters with Ben Affleck talking about how much money was lost due to movie piracy, and he added that it’s the lower level employees that are getting hurt. All the while I’m thinking, don’t you make like $20 million per film? Maybe you could, say, give that to some of the hurting lower level employees? No one’s going to feel sorry for you, Ben Affleck.

  13. TWM

    Eh, I don’t even buy the DVD. It I don’t find it interesting enough to see in a theater I wait for it to come out on HBO.

  14. ashbloem

    I hate hate hate hate going to the movies. As soon as Hollywood can do something about the assholes who leave their phones on; the people who rustle their CVS bags; the people who bring newborns to “Capote”; the teenage girls who are talking and shouldn’t even BE in the rated R movie; and the people behind me who keep kicking me when I lean over and kiss my boyfriend, then I will happily buy DVDs, pirated or no, and watch them at home.

    Also, I hate the Oscars.

    (schpiel endeth.)

  15. Mel

    I love to watch George Clooney. I’ll watch anything with George Clooney in it. I don’t watch George Clooney for his politics (which I happen to agree with). I watch him because he’s Carey Grant… smooth, good looking and entertaining. When George stops being smooth, good looking and entertaining I’ll stop watching him.

  16. Jacynth

    Ah, gotta love money politics. I think they should of added whilst saying there’s nothing like watching a movie on a big screen in a blackened theater, “while listening to other people smack their popcorn, try to calm crying babies, laugh annoyingly, talk, and clear their throats incessantly”. That would definitely make me want to go to the movies more often!

  17. Neil

    Reminds a bit of politicians who talk about how important the public schools are — and are anti-vouchers — but wouldn’t be caught dead sending one of their kids there.

  18. ACG

    i hadn’t been to a movie in months untill yesterday afternoon… I remember why now… $9 for the ticket and $5 for a soda and sm popcorn?!

    and i had to wake the guy across the aisle from me when he started snoring.

  19. better safe than sorry

    i would much rather watch a movie on the big screen, but lack the time. you think they would be grateful people are watching at all. i turned off the coverage when they cut off one a lady trying to get her acceptance speech.

  20. Nance

    My students who work at the theater get me in free and I go on Tuesday or Thursday at the dinnertime show. I never go on the weekend. On the weekend you’re asking for misery. Kids just show up and once they’re all there, they pick whatever’s showing at that time. It’s not going to the movie, it’s “going to hang out.”

  21. Richard

    1. The biggest star I ever ran into at my local multiplex was William “Blacula” Marshall.
    2. Sony, the same company that owns a studio, manufactures dual audiocassette decks. How come it’s okay to dupe an audiocassette but it’s PIRACY (arr, matey) to dupe a DVD?

  22. Brooke

    If they want people to watch at the movies so badly, then maybe the studios should leave the films in the theatres longer than a few weeks and not release them on DVD within two months.

    Last night’s Oscars was probably one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen. I could not believe how boring it was. When the best part of your broadcast is the acceptance speech of people who sing about pimps, then you know you need a new format.

  23. lizriz


    That also reminds of that bit they keep playing from Crash about how we all live in our houses and don’t interact so sometimes we have to crash into each to make contact. Like, uh, just get on the damn subway or go out shopping downtown or something.

  24. Neil

    I love going to see movies in the theaters. But the reality is that pretty soon everyone will have the ability to watch movies everywhere, including their cellphones. George Clooney spent a lot of time talking about how forward-thinking the movie business is, tackling controversial subjects such as racism (didn’t All in the Family do that on TV in 1975?). But the industry isn’t very forward-looking if they insist that movies are still a theater-based entertainment. They already make more money from DVDs than theatrical releases, so I’m not sure what they are complaining about.

  25. cruisin-mom

    Actually, Neil, I think it’s the theatre owners who should be complaining and whining. They are losing business left and right. And the movie industry ought to try putting out decent products. I hardly venture out to the movies anymore because the truth is…most of them are lousy.

  26. Karla

    You watched the Oscars?

    Are you sure you’re straight?

  27. Bre

    Pfft. The Academy is deluded if they think that I’d rather shell out 8.50 per movie to have my feet stick to the floor and my butt go numb than pay 10 bucks per month for netflix to bring the movies to my front door.

    But maybe I’m just high-maintenance like that 😉

  28. Neil

    Karla, uh-oh… I like the Tony Awards even better.

  29. Roger

    I was very sorry that you didn’t win an Oscar this year Neil. I know you weren’t nominated and so it was a longshot, but still. Remember what the Lubbavitcher Rebbe always said about the Mets: Vaight’l nexcheer bubbe!

  30. Michele

    My favorite line was: Do you think if we tore down that statue, Hollywood would become democratized?

    I am sublimely disinterested in whether or not Hollywood wants me to spend more money at the multiplex.

  31. modigli

    This years Oscars were pretty bland. And I’m still shocked that Crash won. It was a decent movie – but BEST PICTURE?! I don’t think so.

    That whole pimp thing kinda freaked me out, too.

  32. claire

    Having done my share of work as a below-the-line crew member, I can say it’s total bs that piracy hurts them. You get a day or week rate while you’re working on the film and when it’s over, so’s your paycheck. The only people it hurts are actors eligible for royalties or people with points (a percentage of the profits).

    The music during the acceptance speeches was totally distracting, mixed too loud, and a mood killer to boot!

    I thought Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep had the best bit of the night.

  33. Kelly

    I don’t like going to out to movies nowadays, but that’s not what I wanted to tell you. What I wanted to say is that Stephen King said in an interview that he goes to his local theater all the time. I was impressed.

  34. helen

    Hmmm, I only go to the theatres to watch action films. Yep, all the explosion and mayhem…. simply bcos my home theatre is not spanking enuff! lol

    Here in my town, a cineplex ticket cost RM8 which comes to about US 2.30. A DVD cost US 2.30 too…. (piracy)

    Disclaimer: I course am against ahem, piracy…..

  35. Hyperion

    I think the first half of the telecast could be summed up with the motto: “Hollywood: Saving the World, One Movie at a Time.” Then the onslaught of “go to the theatre!” propaganda, partially driven by Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban and his decision to simultaneously release a movie in theatres on DVD, and you had to amend the motto to: “Hollywood, Saving the World One Movie at a Time, but only if you pay 13.95 for a ticket and 10 bucks for popcorn.”

  36. Bill

    As you say, they don’t seem very forward thinking. They seem quite backward. Which is too bad for them and everyone. Rather than fighting change they should be trying to move with it and perhaps even direct it.

    They’re really dealing with a number of issues, not just one (“piracy”). Many people feel the theatre experience isn’t all that great anymore (cell phones, talking, badly framed projections etc.), while the home experience has improved with HD, bigger TVs, sound systems etc., and, yes, the product out of Hollywood being a bit too cookie-cutter.

    It strikes me that in many ways their own marketing is killing them. The more they try to control things, the less control they seem to have. (Not sure that made sense but it did in my head.)

  37. Bill

    By the way, for the record, my favourite kind of movie is a good Hollywood movie. They just don’t seem very good at making them anymore. (Asian films actually seem much better at it these days.)

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