There may be something to this idea, given the expanded attention Hollywood paid to the San Diego Comic Con. The NY Times Media Decoder blog elaborates:
The 25 minutes of “Avatar” shown here are enough to end the debate about whether popular movies are ever getting back in contention. They are. The only real question is whether other pictures being promoted at the science fiction convention — Hayao Miyazaki’s “Ponyo,” for instance — might also have a shot at the best picture rolls.
Oscar prospects aren’t the only thing that made Thursday highly unusual in Comic-Con’s Hall H, where the movie blockbusters are presented. One surprise was the big, booming presence of Fox’s co-chief Tom Rothman on the podium, introducing his own film. For the most part, contemporary movie executives hide behind those legions of well-paid spokesmen and movie publicists. But there was Mr. Rothman, large as life, hollering at the crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, check your boarding passes, please, for Fox’s shuttle direct to Pandora via James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’!”
It was kind of a thrill to hear a movie executive actually make some noise about a movie. Another surprise was the sheer density of the crowd on Thursday. Typically, one or two big presentations pack the hall at Comic-Con, then things thin out as people drift to other attractions. But not this time. One big event after another kept the seats filled to capacity for almost eight hours. This says something about the film industry’s success in building up major studio events, even as the small movie side of the business struggles with change.
Personally, I can name a number of animated films and documentaries that deserved Best Picture nominations. Will we see something happen this year? Discuss.