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A golden opportunity to respond

November 30, 2005

HAS the rise of movie bloggers corrupted the Oscars "from a celebration of movies into a silly exercise in Ouija board-style predictions and lamebrained analysis"? Los Angeles Times staff writer Patrick Goldstein suggested as much in Tuesday's column "The Big Picture."

The response from the blogosphere has been equally sharp and biting. Here are excerpts of responses from some bloggers.

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David Poland

MovieCityNews.com

You know, Patrick ... it's getting a little sad.

For years ... your couple of columns during the season were chewed on and debated like they meant something. Then last year, with "Oscar bloggers" nipping at your heels, you dedicated the first part of your annual Oscar column to trying to make me and Tom O'Neil and others look foolish by setting up a whiny competitive thing....

I guess The Envelope and your increasing irrelevance ... has forced you to go another direction.

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Tom O'Neil

goldderby.latimes.comandtheenvelope.latimes.com

Oh, Patrick Goldstein, you can't be serious! Oscar prognosticating is a "demeaning, nauseatingly superficial ritual"? Oscar blogs and websites transform "the Academy Awards from a celebration of movies into a silly exercise in Ouija board-style predictions and lamebrained analysis"?

Quite the contrary: We bloggers do a brainy, vital, in-depth job of informing people about one of the most important things in the world: showbiz awards.

Tracking the overall derby is Hollywood's -- and much of America's -- favorite showbiz sport. And it's thrilling to behold. The Kentucky Derby -- ha! -- is insignificant by comparison. What difference does it make what horse wins a bundle of money for a tycoon none of us knows?

Or let's look at another sports championship: the Super Bowl. Be honest: Football is silly. It's full of big, fat, dumb men in overstretched tights bumping each other to move a pigskin ball and score points. What does winning prove? That Green Bay is superior to Oakland? ... It's all a big lie. With no payoff.

But when the film derby runs its course, the payoff is huge. Superstars emerge who will dominate pop culture for years to come.

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Kristopher Tapley

incontention.blogspot.com and MovieCityNews.com

Maybe I should have participated in this interview when Goldstein baited me with "I'm a big fan of your work ... I'd love to talk to you." Maybe I could have explained these all too apparent aspects to him in a manner that would have swayed him away from such a "holier than thou" piece that spews as much vitriol as it claims dots the Oscar blog landscape. But I didn't, and I'm thankful for that .... And obviously Mr. Goldstein could not find too many participants in his little story (Anne Thompson stuck it out, it seems), a story that wears its agenda on its sleeve.

Can one really demonize others for bickering when offering pot shots like the following in the same breath?

"MovieCityNews' David Poland wrote a recent column in which he proclaimed, after seeing the trailer of "Munich," that the film "is a prohibitive front-runner to win the Academy Award for Best Picture." (This from the guy who said "The Phantom of the Opera" was the only movie that could beat "The Aviator" in last year's Oscar race.)"

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Sasha Stone

Oscarwatch.com

It's worth mentioning that Goldstein missed the big picture (I know, he writes The Big Picture...) that the Oscar race IS a political one. It isn't just a bunch of happy people going off to the movies and voting on those they love. It is a race where whole careers are made or broken and that matters if you're not, say, a straight, white actor with blue eyes in a studio film backed by a media conglomerate ....

The Oscars are a system that feeds and influences film history and despite what Goldstein thinks, it matters. Most people write them off because they've long since lost faith in the academy -- but some of us don't write them off.

Bloggers can, at least, write honestly about the race without having to worry about a smack-down from a corporate boss (hail the blogger for this reason alone).

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