Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Oscars: Billions Served?

About the Oscars this Sunday, one thing may safely be predicted: someone will do something embarrassing onstage, and someone else will point out that it was done in front of a billion people. It is common knowledge that the Academy Awards are watched by a billion people around the world. “They keep reminding you, like, every two seconds,” Cate Blanchett, who is a nominee for Best Supporting Actress, recently complained to Oprah Winfrey...

But the worldwide audience for the Oscars isn’t even close to a billion, as a little common sense makes plain...

Leslie Unger, the publicity co├Ârdinator for one of those entities, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said. “I don’t believe any entity now thinks that the number has any veracity.” The division of the Walt Disney Company that distributes the show internationally also disavows the figure. Unger added, “Our best estimate is several hundred million.”

- From ONE BILLION, in the New Yorker

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