Quoted: Week of February 16, 2015

At USC Annenberg, we don’t just cover the news, we make it. “Quoted: USC Annenberg in the News” gathers a selection of the week’s news stories featuring and written by USC Annenberg’s leaders, faculty, staff and others.

Study: Oscar Win Lifts Brand Paydays

Women's Wear Daily cited research by professor Jeetendr Sehdev on the benefits of an Oscar win. According to Sehdev's latest study, the exact value of an Oscar to a brand was an astounding 1.5% of annual sales.

"An Oscar has enormous symbolic value," said Sehdev. "There is so much credibility and trust that has been building in the Oscar brand over the years. It is the ultimate for an actor and I think people recognize that it embodies the 'no pain, no gain' mentality of Hollywood."

Sehdev's research also found that Oscar winners are seen as 62 percent more admired, 40 percent less disliked, 25 percent cooler and 37 percent more trusted than non-Oscar winners.

The Sunday Times also cited the Sehdev study. His research found that the Oscar value has been especially applicable to British actors this awards season. Results from Sehdev's study include that Americans found British actors such as Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike up to seven times more likable than the thespians from their own country.


'Two and a Half Men' Stars and Creator Talk 'Undignified' Goodbye

Entertainment Tonight quoted professor Mary Murphy about Charlie Sheen's relationship with his "Two and a Half Men" co-stars.

The show ended its 12-season run this past Thursday. Sheen famously exited the show in March 2011 after publicly blasting the shows creator, Chuck Lorre.

"I don't even think he was invited," Murphy said. "It's like a little kid who says, 'I'm not going!' when he wasn't even asked."


Oscars 2015: And the winner is... social media, for better and for worse

The Los Angeles Times quoted professor Karen North on the role of social media at award shows.

Hoping to boost ratings for the Oscar telecast, particularly among coveted younger viewers, the motion picture academy has made a concerted effort in recent years to encourage the audience to engage with the ceremony via social media.

According to Twitter, the 2014 Academy Awards telecast was the most tweeted non-sporting live event of the year, with more than 17 million Oscar-related tweets over the evening.

However, there are challenges that come with increased social media engagement by the audience.

"Once something goes out on social media, it's no longer in control of the person who started the conversation," North said. "We've become a participation culture. People don't want to just sit back and consume media or experiences. They want to participate."


Best-picture nod for 'Selma' caps big year for black women

The Washington Post quoted professor Stacy Smith and cited her research on the lack of diversity in the Hollywood film industry.

Black female filmmakers have been one of Hollywood's greatest rarities. In the past seven years, only three were connected to the top 700 movies, according to research by Smith's Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative.

"The ecosystem of filmmaking is problematic for women and people of color," Smith said.

According to Smith's research, more than 95 percent of the directors of top-grossing films during the past decade have been men. In addition, looking at the top 700 films over a recent seven-year period, almost 90 percent of them were white.

"The number one barrier is financial," Smith told the LA Times.

MashableKPCC, The LA Times and NBC also quoted Smith about the Selma nomination.


Hollywood's necessary not-niceness

Professor and Norman Lear Center director Marty Kaplan's column in The Jewish Journal discussed the mannerism of Hollywood executives.

Kaplan's column served as a response to the recent Sony email hack that revealed a great deal about recently fired co-chair of Sony Pictures, Amy Pascal.

Pascal has continued to make headlines in Hollywood by offering her often unfiltered two cents on various issues. Kaplan said the hacked emails are proof that Pascal is correct in her belief that "not-niceness" makes Hollywood work.

"Hollywood isn't the only endeavor whose principals, as Pascal described its stars, can be 'bottomless pits of need," Kaplan said. "Politics comes to mind, as well as Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the media, academia, organized religion and that bedrock of civilization, the family... I'll take Pascal's wager: Not-niceness is the weirdness that makes it work."

The Huffington Post entertainment blog also published Kaplan's column.


'Fifty Shades' success upends thinking about winter movies

The Los Angeles Times quoted professor Stacy Smith on the past weekend's success of the Fifty Shades of Grey film.

The film dominated the box office, earning $102.7 million since its Valentine's Day debut. The film's rarity in the industry comes from not only for its target audience but for the way it came to the screen, as the project was overseen mostly by women.

In addition to being based on a book written by a woman, the movie was green-lit by Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, directed by British filmmaker and photographer Sam Taylor-Johnson from a script by Kelly Marcel. It was the biggest opening weekend for a female director since the 2008 launch of "Twilight", directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

Smith commented on what the film's monumental success means for females in the Hollywood film industry.

"The industry is reluctant to support female storytellers and voices, [but] female filmmakers sell, despite what Hollywood decision makers think," she said.


A race to the finish in the age of edge

The Los Angeles Times published an article by Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center Neal Gabler that examined the pervasive pursuit of edginess across culture.

"Edginess is the grail for almost everything, except movies," Gabler said. "At the risk of being too edgy, at $100 million a pop, apparently risks alienating a large and diverse audience."

Gabler also expanded on the cultural need for edginess.

"Edge is both more pervasive than noir and more elastic," Gabler said. "That's because edge, while an aesthetic and a genre and a correlative like noir, is also a metaphor for the world in which many Americans feel they live."