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'In the Bedroom' Is Leader of the Cigarette Pack
This Year's Best Picture Category Is Smokiest in Hackademy History

March 20, 2002

For giving Marlboro cigarettes a starring role, "In the Bedroom" blew away stiff competition from the other four Best Picture nominees to receive the infamous Hackademy Awards' "Thumbs Down" from the American Lung Association of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails today.

Also receiving a "Thumbs Down" was the star of "In the Bedroom," Sissy Spacek, because of her dependence on cigarettes to show her grief after her son's death.

"Sissy Spacek is such a good actress, she doesn't need to light up in order to act out grief or any other emotion," said Leslie Horvath, 15, a sophomore at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, Calif.

This is the sixth Hackademy Awards, and the first to have all five Academy Awards Best Picture nominees feature scenes of smoking. "The entire Best Picture category could be called 'Lord of the Smoke Rings,'" said Carolyn Johnson, 19, a sophomore at the University of California at Davis who has been an ALA teen reviewer for five years. "The best movies don't need all that smoking."

In past Hackademy Awards, "Titanic" received "Thumbs Down" honors for harmful portrayals of tobacco use, and "The Insider" received a "Thumbs Up" award for portraying tobacco use in its true light.

This year, the Hackademy Awards teen reviewers gave a "Thumbs Up" to "Coyote Ugly" for being a movie geared toward young people that a moviegoer would expect to glamorize tobacco use, but it didn't. Honorable mentions went to "Rules of Engagement" and "Unbreakable."

"'Coyote Ugly' shows a young woman trying to get ahead in New York City, and she had every opportunity to smoke," said Sarah Crumley, 16, a sophomore at Davis High School in Davis, Calif. "But they left that 'ugly' out of the movie."

Dishonorable mentions by the teen reviewers went to "A Perfect Storm," "Save the Last Dance" and "Charlie's Angels." They were teen flicks that gave lots of scenes to cigarettes, or showed smoking as being cool.

The Hackademy Awards are part of a larger project known as "Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!" that includes its television counterpart, the Phlemmys, and other programs whose goals are to increase awareness among teenagers about tobacco use in TV and movies and to work with the entertainment industry to reduce the glamorization of tobacco. Studies have proven there is a strong correlation between smoking in movies and smoking among young people.

For the Hackademy Awards, about 50 teens from Sacramento reviewed the top blockbuster films from 2000 and 2001 and recorded their tobacco use and references. In the Annual Report Card analyzing the data from the youth, Hollywood received an overall grade of a C. The entire report card can be viewed at

The Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! program is funded by a grant from the California Department of Health Services, Proposition 99.