Here’s an L.A. Times story by Mary McNamara about expected low ratings for the March 5th Oscar telecast because average movieogers (i.e., mostly youths) haven’t yet paid to see most of the Best Picture nominees in sufficiently large numbers: “There is no Titanic this year…there is no Lord of the Rings,” Oscar producer Gil Cates observes. “The creative community has chosen to honor films that are different from those the rest of the country is seeing.” By “the rest of the country” he means, for the most part, the marginally educated under-25 red-staters…giggly girls, teenaged guys travelling in packs, people of ethnic disparity with lowbrow tastes, etc. The fact is that four of the nominees — Brokeback Mountain ($51 million), Crash ($55.4 million), Munich ($40.6 million), and Good Night, and Good Luck ($25.1 million) — have earned fairly decent coin in urban blue-state areas. (Capote is the only lowballer so far with just $15 million in the till.) The problem is that the bubbas haven’t responded…but then smart and sensitive quality-level stuff has never been their cup of tea, so shut ’em out and be glad for it. The Oscars are for the staid and unadventurous blues, for the most part, and the People’s Choice Awards are for the loutish hormonally-driven reds. I say write ’em off…scale down the budget, tailor the Oscar show ad rates, fire Gil Cates…modify the whole thing and face the truth of it. We live in a era of Culture Wars, and today more than ever the marching slogan is straight out of the mouth of Blanche DeBois: “Don’t hang back with the brutes.”