Are the Oscars Rigged?

I love movies. I especially love great movies. Many times, awards such as Golden Globes or Oscars can help filter out which movies I should push to the top of my Netflix queue. But is the award system completely rigged?

If you read Wall St. Cheat Sheet, you know how often we cite lobbying as a major strategy on Wall Street and in Washington. However, I believe distinctions like the Oscars are generally accepted as merit-based (even when your favorite film doesn’t get tagged with a bald golden guy).

Unfortunately, as movie companies collect an important share of revenue from post-theater distribution, awards play an equally important role in driving sales — both in initial and future demand from award sections at retailers and renters.

For example, after Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Co., received an Oscar nomination for Inglorious Bastards he said, “We’ll sell another million or two million DVD units” because of the nominations.

That’s real money. Surely enough money to offer some legal payola (trips, dinners, iPhones, etc.) to the Academy members. There was even a payola scandal over Scent of a Woman. (I am sure there are more, but this one was at my finger tips.)

In general, I have found many past Oscar winners to be worthy of 90+ minutes of my lifespan. However, I wonder whether I should ignore movie awards as I do The Grammys (which everyone who has worked in the record business — like me — knows are rigged) and TV commercials.

Do you ignore movie awards when crafting your must-see list? If so, why? The Cheat Sheet wants to know …