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Radio Talk Show Host: Betting On Animation Oscar Is Only Way To Stay Invested

Public radio podcaster Brendan Francis Newnam, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Big Food Thinkers Under 40,” shared one of his big thoughts on Weekend Marketplace last Friday: The only way to make the presentation of the animated shorts Oscar category tolerable is to bet money on it.

Newnam, who hosts the Dinner Party Download, a radio show about arts and culture, explained to the host of Marketplace:

“My co-host, Rico Gagliano, is a very strong believer in betting pools. I resisted, but now I agree with him because you need something on the line when you get to that part of Oscar where they’re talking about the best sound mixing, the best animated short. You know, look, it’s hard enough to even to see the main features so to stay invested during those portions of the party it’s worth it to have money, money, money.”

Brendan Francis Newnam.
Brendan Francis Newnam.

Before his offhand dismissal of the craft categories at the Academy Award, Newnam complains about the portentousness of the Oscars. “These are overpaid people who don’t even fully represent our country…so a lot of the fun is making fun of the people,” he said. “These are kind of the like the Greek gods, the Roman gods…we like to watch them mess up and make mistakes, so it’s okay to be goofy and mock them.”

Of course, the people who are the antithesis of Greek or Roman gods are animation artists, make-up and costume designers, visual effects artists, set designers, and other craftspeople. These people toil anonymously behind the scenes for years, often decades, and the majority of the Academy Awards are dedicated to these craftspeople. The Oscars are one of the few moments that they receive widespread public acknowledgement for their contributions to the massively popular art form they help create.

To recap: Newnam, whose job amazingly is to understand arts and culture, not only doesn’t make any attempt to understand film artists, but he thinks that the best way to appreciate their artistic achievement is to
a.) bet on the work they create, and
b.) mock the artists, for good measure.

Big thinker, indeed.

(Photo, top: Ljupco Smokovski/Shutterstock.com)

  • RCooke

    And “big food thinker” isn’t worthy of being made fun of? WHAT is a “big food thinker?” Does he think a lot about Watermelon? or entire sides of beef? What a freakin’ IDIOT. How shameful and embarrassed those who employ him must be.

  • Al Vigil

    i’m so mad about a podcast i’ve never heard of not caring about cartoons!!!!! i’m going to write an article on the internet that will prove, once and for all, that animation is a serious art form

    • applemeh

      Thank you for your worthy contribution. Keep it up please

    • Austin Papageorge

      This guy wasn’t just a jerk about animation, you know.

    • elliot Lobell

      I think it’s totally reasonable to write this article, as it just proves that the general public, when it comes to animation and filmmaking in general people are largely ignorant

      • Johnny Bravado

        Unnecessary. One only need glance at the previous winners and nominations of the category to see a clear picture.

  • JodyMorgan

    “These are overpaid people… kind of like the Greek gods, the Roman gods…” Is he talking about the people who make movies, or the people who vote on the awards? If the latter, well, he has something of a point.

  • A similar economics argument has been made about elections. People care more about issues when they have direct monetary “skin-in-the-game”.

  • alt animation podcast

    Many people watch the oscars as entertainment. If you are into actors, gossip, and that culture then I can imagine the animated shorts part being boring. Honestly I am bored during all the acting awards myself.
    He is talking about having an oscar dinner party with casual people, and lets face it, the majority of the population doesnt even want to know how animation works or who the wizards behind the curtain are. So while his comments are dismissive of what we all love here, I dont fault him for his comments.

  • FM Hansen

    Thank you Amid.

  • Schadenfreude

    So, the news here is that regular folk have zero craps to give about animation. Well color me stupefied. I never needed anyone’s approval, and after over twenty years in the industry I think anyone looking for approval from the masses is absolutely kidding themselves. Even animation savior ™ Brad Bird deserted animation for the “legitimacy” of live action. Andy Serkis calls our industry “digital make up artists”, Wes Anderson destained animators so much he lived in Paris and directed Fantastic Mr Fox over the phone so he wouldn’t have to sully himself with our grubby little jobs of work. The only news here is that somehow the editors of cartoonbrew thought this was a story.