Roger L. Simon

Toss-up Oscar Season: I'm open for bribes

According to our good friends at Variety, this year’s Academy Awards are up for grabs with no clear front runner. It’s nice to be voting in an election for once where my vote actually counts (even if the election is not quite as significant as, say, the presidency of Iran). Nevertheless, voting in the Oscars can be something of a chore. It used to be (when I first joined the Acad over 20 years ago) that I was all excited to vote in the awards. But those kinds of honorifics get tired fast and now I … and I bet a number of Academy members if they admitted it … resent having to watch a lot of movies that don’t really want to see, if only to feel vaguely honest about their votes.

And now that I’m grousing, let me complain about a great perk that has vanished. It also used to be that you could be a hero to friends and family lending out (or giving away) the tapes and DVDs sent out as screeners by the studios to all Academy members. No more. In this era of online piracy, most of the DVDs have digital watermarks with our names on it. One poor sucker in the acting division wound up with a $60,000 dollar fine (yes, you read that correctly) when some copies with his watermark turned up in Hong Kong. Kind of gets your attention. So you keep the discs close to home. And they keep coming – like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In our house, with my Acad membership and Sheryl and my WGA memberships, we have wound up, for some reason, with five copies of World Trade Center. Maybe we should use them for coasters. [Sake coasters. They come in sets of five, according to the Japanese tradition.-ed. Very goooood.]