"I am the main content provider of Oscarwatch.com and am, according to Goldstein, among the many putrid "dingbat" voices out there ruining his love of cinema. To quote Hannibal, 'Oh, Clarisse, your problem is you really need to get more fun out of life.'"
"I began Oscarwatch when I had just given birth to my daughter. There I was, a single mother, with no income to speak of, during the dot.com explosion (before it dotbombed). I had an idea for a website where readers could gather and discuss and analyze the Oscar race. It began with a very small audience, mostly people who lived in the far corners of the world. Year by year, its audience grew and eventually it became known to publicists in town. The screeners started flooding in, so did the screening invites and suddenly, unbeknownst to me, I was in the system. It wasn't long after that that the mainstream media began writing mostly scathing articles about how we (by now there were dozens of Oscar sites) didn't matter and were to be written off because, after all, we don't actually SEE the films we predict to win.
"I can't speak to anyone else's intentions, but I am running a site for people who are interested in predicting the Oscars, people who love and love to hate the Oscars. This was borne out of our collective love of cinema. I have made a point over the years not to predict on the front page outcomes for movies that haven't been seen or reviewed. You won't see 'Munich' on there, even though it is clearly favored to win, because no one has seen it yet. Did Goldstein bother, at all, to note this fact? No, he simply chose to lump me in with everyone else, despite my best efforts NOT to do this.
"But his real misstep was in missing the big picture (er, so to speak). Perhaps if he ran a site like mine he would get hundreds of letters every year from fans all over the world who love a movie, or a director or an actor. Many of them are fans of the Oscars themselves and will write me whenever I get a factoid wrong. It's for them (and for myself) that I continue to do all this work -- not to be a player, not for the mythical ad revenue, not to be an affront to the Times, not even at the end of the day to be right -- but for the love and fun of it.
"My aim with Oscarwatch was never to reduce this love of cinema to a horse race. I wanted to analyze the race and try to solve a riddle that has plagued me for years: why do certain films win ('How Green Was My Valley') while others do not ('Citizen Kane')? And I set off on a course to find out why. To date, I still don't know. And I would never claim to know.
"From my perspective, Goldstein has gotten it wrong. These websites do well because people love movies and they love the Oscars. They can participate in websites like mine, and In Contention, in ways they never could with newspapers or magazines -- we are accessible to them. Speculation about the Oscars has existed as long as there have been Oscars to speculate about. Really, it's no different from the rampant blogging about the Fitzgerald investigation, if a little (ok a LOT) more trivial. But unlike the impenetrable façade of broadcast news, newsprint or glossies, readers and editors can all prognosticate together in the forums.
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"What I don't understand is why the mainstream press appears to be so threatened by bloggers (even though Goldstein claims not to be). And, specifically, how can Goldstein question why we obsess about the Oscar race when he writes a yearly Oscar column? Are we really that different?
"I don't even consider myself a blogger. I run an Oscar buzz website. I have been trying only to build something out of nothing. I work extremely hard year after year for not a lot of payback. I do not make a lot of money doing this. But to me, I am doing honest work. It's a labor of love for films, film history and how the Oscars shape it. It's unfortunate, and very depressing in the final analysis, that others feel it necessary to take me, and others like me, down. After all, isn't it a bit like Jamba Juice coming down hard on the lemonade stand down the block?"
"It's evident why David Poland would be miffed at Patrick Goldstein's just-up column about Oscar bloggers ("Making Oscars a mule race"), but I'm not going to squawk about Goldstein calling me "the Lewis Black of Oscar bloggers."
"Plus he compounded whatever impact my anti-Memoirs of a Geisha views may have on the local populace by imprinting my words on wads of actual lumber-mill paper, which, for some people over the age of 45 or so, carries a certain legitmacy that cyber copy lacks.
"I have to say that I agree with Poland in his dispute with Goldstein over which acronym applies in the matter of a deminishing media enterprise. Goldstein describes himself and the L.A. Times as representatives of MSM (i.e., mainstream media) while Poland refers to the same as OM (i.e., old media). Either way, the notion that you need to hold finger-smudging newsprint in your hands in order to read something of consequence is totally out the window as far as the under-35s are concerned.
"'Studio publicists say they cater to [Oscar] bloggers because their top executives react hysterically to every little slight they see on the web,' Goldstein noted at one point. I can testify about the reverse end of this. I've just been disinvited to two events I've RSVP'd to -- in one instance because I've run negative postings about a certain big-studio feature, and in another instance because I used some initiative to get myself into an Academy-members screening of an upcoming film. I think it can be said without any particular prejudice that some people really love sloshing around in their emotional bathwater, even when it doesn't serve their strategic interests."
Read his response here.
"To an extent, I think Mr. Goldstein has a point. The world of Oscar prognostication can be seen as a bizzare one, especially for those who are on the outside looking in.