Reader Mike Gebert just wrote and said, “The Oscars could be hosted by Jenna Jameson for all I care, but if the Best Picture nominees are Capote, Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Good Night and Good Luck and Munich, then haven’t the Oscars basically become the Independent Spirit Awards and completely severed any ties with the main American moviegoing public?” And I replied, “First of all, Munich probably won’t make it. But otherwise…hello?…Brokeback Mountain is on its way to becoming a sizable popular hit (it hasn’t even begun to be seen by mainstream America), and Crash connected very nicely before going to DVD. And Capote, thank goodness, will now be seen by more people as a result of its likely Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Oscar winners have been huge financial hits in the past, but those days are pretty much over because the big studios have all but taken themselves out of the Oscar-contending game. Are you suggesting that the finalists should be picked from among the biggest moneymakers? It’s an old analogy of mine, but as movieogers we all live in a Planet of the Apes nation with movies for the smart chimps and movies for the gorillas. You know this, and yet you say it’s disappointing that there aren’t more gorilla movies among the likely Best Picture nods? The days of big-studio movies like Gone With the Wind, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Bridge on the River Kwai, My Fair Lady amd The Godfather are over…but the era of Very Good and In Some Cases Emotionally Riveting Films like the ones that are likely to be nominated is now upon us…and that’s that. I’m not saying it would be impossible for a big studio to finance a Gone With the Wind or Bridge on the River Kwai or The Godfather these days, but obviously those days have all but slipped away. You know it, I know it…get used to it.”