Hollywood is coming off a strong year at the box office, but the 80th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday will provide a merciful -- if triumphant -- end to a dreadful awards season.
The 3 ½ month-long Hollywood writers' strike probably hurt the promotional buildup to the Oscars as well as the box office fortunes of some of the nominated films, whether from lower TV ratings or the cancellation or retooling of other award ceremonies leading up to Sunday's main event.
"These award shows are currency for the exploitation of these movies," says John Hanity, founder of Hanity & Associates, an independent producer and financier, who worked for Miramax and Orion. "You can't buy the exposure that you get from these shows. The currency was devalued by the absence of the Golden Globes."
The strike turned the normal three-hour Golden Globes Awards extravaganza and its red carpet companion into a one-hour news conference, severely reducing the number of people who watched on TV -- and thereby in all likelihood reducing ticket sales for Globes-winning films such as "Atonement" and "Sweeney Todd."