“This is not about taking away from Hollywood; this is about Hollywood helping New York.”
— Miramax co-topper Harvey Weinstein, quoted in the New York Times, Aug. 9
“We want to make a statement that we are alive, we are well, that this is the most attractive, highest-profile city in the world. This is not a damaged city.”
— Cablevision prez-CEO James Dolan, quoted in the New York Times, Aug. 9
“Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn said through his spokeswoman … that he doesn’t object to sharing the Oscars next year.”
— Los Angeles Times, Aug. 10
ALL OF THESE PEOPLE, of course, are talking about broadcasting all or part of the Oscars from New York, hoping it will help the economy and the mood. The New Yorkers plan to present a formal proposal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences within a month; politicians in Los Angeles are surprisingly complacent about this plan.
Ignoring the fact that the Oscars already did a salute to New York in March — how much attention do those people want? — it seems a bigger boost to the Gotham economy would come from companies greenlighting more films there. Daily Variety lists 56 films ready to roll in the near future; only six will lense partly or entirely in N.Y.; by comparison, seven will roll in Canada.
The Oscars are symbolic of a lot of things to a lot of people, but the economic-recovery angle is a new one. Still, it’s clear where this kind of kudos-rustling is headed: Once cities start stealing award shows, where will it end? Here’s what we can expect in the next few weeks.
- After centuries of hurricanes and tornadoes, bigwigs in Corpus Christi, Texas, immediately put in a bid for the Emmy Awards, saying, “We want to show that we’re not a damaged city either.”
- In quick succession, Buffalo, N.Y., asks to host the Golden Globes (“You wouldn’t believe the snow we’ve had to put up with!”). And Beirut tries to land the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Pointing to their shabby treatment by the U.S. government and Hollywood, Native Americans mount a push to host the L.A. Film Critics Awards at the Apache Nugget Casino in New Mexico.
- Wanting to expand their horizons, members of the New York committee declare they will woo the British Open, the Cannes Film Festival and the Pamplona running of the bulls.
- L.A. finally gets defensive and announces plans to lure “Live! With Regis & Kelly” and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular away from New York, which quickly agrees to the plan.
- Vancouver announces it has sealed deals to host the Grammys, Tonys, BAFTAs and Olivier awards. Meanwhile, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New York City marathon now will be held in Toronto, since the downtown streets can double for Gotham at a fraction of the cost.