Is there an Oscar media backlash?

Obviously this is a odd Oscar year, what with the near-absence of major studio releases contending for big awards, and (relatedly, of course) the smaller-than-usual box office upswing for the nominees, not to mention the sprouting of so, so, so much internet chatter and gay cowboy jokes. (By the way, how many gay cowboys does it take to change a light bulb? Answer in an upcoming post once I figure out a clever one.)

But maybe the meta-media Oscar story is Media Oscar Backlash. Remember 2003, when we were just beginning our long ordeal of being welcomed to Iraq with flowers and dancing in the streets? There was all sorts of breathless media chatter along the lines of ‘Will the Oscars be less frivolous this year?’ The presumption being, of course, that the Oscars mattered as a cultural bellwether.

Now, just three years later, everyone’s asking ‘Do the Oscars, in fact, matter?’

What will the 2007 meta-media Oscar question be? Place your bets now.