Stage 32 Glossary

Oscar bait

Oscar bait is a phrase often used in a derogatory way to describe studio-invented pre-release PR buzz that a film (usually an epic or serious biopic released late in the year) is worthy, meaningful, and deserving of Oscar awards. The term was reportedly first used by Hedda Hopper in a "Looking at Hollywood" column on June 1, 1948. Term either refers to a self-proclaimed, "important", often over-produced film, undercut by its attempt to appeal to all demographics, or a showy acting performance designed to draw attention to itself. These kinds of films and performances were the sort that used to guarantee an Oscar from Academy voters during the film industry's adolescent years of the 1950s and early 1960s, but are now considered either pretentious or cheesy in the modern age, and ironically often hurt the film's or actor's chances at winning an Oscar, though some films still succeed. Also known as "Oscarbation."