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You, Too, Can Buy an Oscar Nomination

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Did you ever wonder why certain mid-major to major studios seem to receive so many more Oscar nominations than others? The answer in some -- but God knows not all -- cases is that they pay for them. Not directly, of course. The people who run the Oscars are complete paranoids when it comes to bribing voters. No holiday gift baskets. No trips to Vegas at studio expense. Heck, for a while there they even vetoed the free DVD of the movie. Now, at least you get a free movie so long as you don't copy it or loan it out or upload it onto any known electrical device. Screwing up is punishable by imprisonment and loss of Beverly Hills lunch privileges.

No, Oscar voters cannot be bribed. Golden Globe voters can. It is perfectly within the rules to fly a Golden Globe voter to Paris and ply him with Grand Marnier and wild French women. It's done every year because Golden Globe winners don't necessarily win Oscars, but they do, more often than not, win Oscar nominations.

The Golden Globe gatekeepers wield the same power in movies that Iowa and New Hampshire wield in Presidential politics. You have to win there to go on to the next level. And it's so much cheaper to buy your way into a Golden Globe than an Oscar. The Golden Globe voters are made up of 90 foreign journalists -- photographers, mostly, and we all know about entertainment industry photographer ethics -- who have places to live in Southern California. Ninety voters. An Oscar campaign costs millions of dollars, while 90 journalists can be bought by ninety bottles of scotch.

How do I, a small-town former dishwasher, former screenwriter, presently happy-go-lucky novelist from Wyoming, know this information? For one thing, it's not that hard to figure out. Take Pia Zadora, as an example. Yes, the same Pia Zadora whose most famous movie was Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Pia won her Golden Globe for a movie called Butterfly. Write me if you've seen it. I haven't, but I've been told it doesn't hold a candle to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. But then Pia's husband treated 12 Golden Globe voters to a night at the luxurious hotel he owned, and had several more over to his mansion for lunch and a private screening of Butterfly.

Surprise! She won!

My theory was confirmed by an actor who won a Golden Globe himself, so his opinion is not likely to be sour grapes. For the blog's sake, we'll call him Paul Hogan. Paul played Shane in a movie I wrote, although, sad to say, the movie itself wasn't called Shane. The movie, which should have been Sorrow Floats was entitled Floating Away. That's because Hope Floats came out right before Sorrow Floats and Rosanna Arquette was in both of them, and the producer, Showtime, thought the public would get mixed up.

The public did get mixed up. I receive frequent compliments for writing Hope Floats, a movie I didn't write. I rarely receive compliments for writing Floating Away.

You may wonder how the title Floating Away was chosen. The fine folks at Showtime set up a table on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, where they handed anyone who would take it a list of five possible titles. I wasn't told the losers. But, the title of my movie -- the movie I spent five years working on -- was chosen by a committee of vagrant pedestrians with nothing else to do but fill out opinion polls. We were right next to the Pepsi versus Coke blind taste test booth.

Another tidbit you might find interesting: In lists of the most powerful people in Hollywood, you never hear about the psychics. Here's some advice for you low budget filmmakers. Bribe a psychic. You want a big star in a cheap movie, find out which Hollywood Swami-type is calling his shots. A huge percentage of the creative talent uses psychics. The whole business of who is a star and who isn't is such a mystery, and successful actors, directors, producers, and studio heads have no idea how they made it happen, so on top of being neurotic, they're superstitious as hell. A lot of cash goes down the fortune-telling tubes in California in the name of career advice.

There's big money in mysticism in Hollywood. The actresses refer each other to the psychics with the reputations, and, if you're on the list, you're in Fat City. Look at what happened with Tom Cruise and Scientology, or Madonna with her Kabbala. I'd like to set myself up as the Gnostic prophet. Any of you creative types want to know what to do next, send me your question accompanied by a small check. One thing I do know is what you should do next. I'm good at that.

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