Carlos Costas, PacificCoastNews.com
First, the Good News, Hugh Jackman: Your chance of being hailed as an Oscar savior is good, thanks, in part, to great timing. You have consented to host an award-show telecast in the same year that audiences are liking award-show telecasts again.
The TV ratings don't lie. The People's Choice Awards was up. The Golden Globes was up. The Grammys was up. True, the Screen Actors Guild Awards was down, but that's because it went up so much last year because it was the one well-attended show of the writers' strike. On the flip side of the SAG Awards, last year's Oscar numbers were so depressed—a record-low 32 million viewers—it's a stretch to think they'll sink further. Um, doesn't it…?
What About the Batman Boycott? As you may know, Hugh, there have been rumblings of an Oscar tune-out by aggrieved Dark Knight fans. One boycott-minded Facebook group even boasts more than 300 members. But the wall posts, like the most intense outrage, have waned in recent weeks.
And even if the wave were still building, the numbers are on your side: The prime Dark Knight audience (young men) is simply not the Oscars' target demographic (young women). Beyond that, you caught a break when Dark Campaign, the Website that led the grassroots effort for a Dark Knight Best Picture nomination, opted out of the boycott business. "I'd prefer to end our campaign on a positive note with [screenwriter] Jonah Nolan's wonderful letter to us," the site's Blair Erickson said in an email.
One More Plus…Unless, Of Course, It's Not: According to the Los Angeles Times, Oscar producers have asked Oscar presenters—whoever they might be—to stay off the red carpet, the better to wow us with their fashion sense during the actual show telecast.
On the downside, will viewers tune in if they don't know who's going to be on the show, beyond the nominees?
The answer may not matter. What matters, Hugh, is that one of your nominees is named Brad Pitt, and that another of your nominees is named Angelina Jolie. Unless it turns out they're both seriously ticked-off Dark Knight fans with secret plans of their home to stay home, you're golden. Which is something Jon Stewart never had a shot at.