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The Oscar Bailout: Jobs, Mortgages and the Golden Ultimatum

On Sunday’s Academy Awards, Hollywood’s most magical of nights, these kingmakers and finaglers will whisk you away from your crumpling 401(k) and sinking mortgage into a fantasy world of starlets dripping with diamonds on the red carpet and aureate actors hooked by an orchestral cane and yanked offstage.

Photo: Alan Light

And, while recession stress has traders revolting in the pits of the Chicago Merc, the rallying cry from Hollywood is, “The show must go on!”

It’s a recession, not an apocalypse,” Hal Rubenstein, the fashion director of InStyle is quoted as saying in the L.A. Times.

Hollywood needs this event, they say. Fashion needs this event. People’s careers rely on this event.

How many people? Five million? Because that’s how many people are currently collecting unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, Hollywood will consume 15 pounds of caviar and 1,500 bottles of champagne, according to Metro newspaper. Each little golden-man statue costs $500 and studios can spend up to $50 million to campaign for best picture.

Those costs alone add up to about $250 million. Tack on the nearly $700 million advertisers spend for a coveted :30 second spot during the telecast and you’re looking at a cool billion.

That would pay 50,000 people’s unemployment benefits for a year. Or, 8,000 people’s mortgages for a year.

It’s not going to fix the problem but it certainly has a more lasting impact beyond the three-hour telecast.

Or wait, I’ve got it! Little golden dude, in the ultimate sacrifice, lets America melt him down to capitalize on $1,000 gold pricesand donates all the proceeds to the nation’s unemployment fund.

Then we’ll make a movie out of it and sell millions!

In a world ...
where 5 million are unemployed,
one man’s quest
to make a difference
leads to …

The Golden Ultimatum.

Questions? Comments? Write to ponyblog@cnbc.com.

Contact Pony Blog

  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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