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Beware, Oscar fantatics: We worship a false god, you know

November 24, 2007 | 11:16 am

Before we get too carried away with Oscarmania this season, let's take a sensible second to remind ourselves of something very important: all of those sparkling statuettes Schindler1_2 are merely plated in gold. Worse, they're bestowed for something that doesn't exist.

Here's the single most fascinating piece of awards trivia that I know. Only once in modern history — that is, since the explosion in the number of showbiz awards that occurred by the 1970s — have all of the top Hollywood awards agreed on a choice for best picture. In 1993, "Schindler's List" won best-picture prizes at the Oscars, Golden Globes, National Board of Review, Producers Guild of America and the film critics' trifecta: L.A., N.Y. and National Society of Film Critics. It also claimed the top prizes from the directors' and writers' guilds.

However, that same year the People's Choice Award went to a different Steven Spielberg movie: "Jurassic Park." While it might be tempting to pooh-pooh that win — after all, come on, it's just the People's Choice Award — we can't. Back in those days, that award was determined by the Gallup Poll, which measures public opinion quite accurately. Today the award has little significance since it no longer applies scientific measures — winners are picked on line.

How ironic: In the end, when Hollywood finally made up its collective mind and decreed — "Yes, a best picture of the year does exist and we have found it!" — the rest of America piped in to say "No! No! No! Not that one! We say the best picture is the one with the dinosaurs running amok."