The Academy Awards isn't the only occasion when prizes are doled out to movies for special achievements. The Hackademy Awards gives "Thumbs Down!" and "Thumbs Up!" to films that either feature tobacco use, or eschew tobacco altogether and convey anti-smoking messages. The awards are given yearly by Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, a nonprofit, Sacramento-based public policy group involved with research and education on clean air and a tobacco-free world.
This year the top "Thumbs Down!" went to "Nine," the musical featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson and a lot of other people, and a lot of smoking. " 'Nine' provided a depressingly perfect example by lavishly promoting cigarette and cigar smoking as emblems of sexiness, wealth, power, coolness and relaxation," said the news release. Movies are reviewed by a panel of young volunteers.
We're sorry they had to sit through that film. We saw it and frankly found it a bit of a snore — so much so that we don't even recall specific scenes of smoking. Oh, wait -- Judi Dench appears to be holding a cigarette in that photo, doesn't she? Well, there you go. Anyway, Breathe California shouldn't be that concerned about how influential "Nine" may be on the youth of America, considering it did a paltry $5.5 million at the box office opening weekend. We're also guessing its target demographic is not of an impressionable age. "Nine," by the way, also received four Academy Award nominations.
Other films that got a downward-turned thumb were "Avatar," "Sherlock Holmes," "I Can Do Bad All by Myself" and "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."
"Thumbs Up!" went to "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," which was free of tobacco use, according to the panel, and Breathe California singled out Paramount as the studio that released movies with the lowest percentage of scenes featuring tobacco -- 18%.
Also getting a clean bill of health: "Twilight Saga: New Moon," "The Time Traveler's Wife," "The Proposal" and "(500) Days of Summer."
-- Jeannine Stein
Photo: Judi Dench in the film "Nine." Credit: David James / The Weinstein Co.