Wednesday, February 20, 2008

POP CULTURE: Does anyone care about the Oscars

I like the Oscars. I think they are kind of fun. But, CNN makes a good point when they ask: Does anyone care about the Oscars?

I don't really have much of a response, but I wanted to republish this list from the article.

Top Ten Blockbusters -- 1976
1. Jaws
2. The Godfather
3. The Exorcist
4. The Sound of Music
5. Gone With the Wind
6. The Sting
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
8. The Towering Inferno
9. The Love Story
10. The Graduate
Result: 5 wins, 5 nominations for the then top-grossing films

Top Ten Blockbusters -- 2008
1. Titanic
2. Star Wars
3. Shrek 2
4. ET
5. Star Wars I -- The Phantom Menace
6. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest
7. Spider-Man
8. Star Wars III -- Revenge of the Sith
9. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
10. Spider-Man II
Result: 2 wins, 2 nominations

Hm. Are the Oscars out of touch with the American viewing public, or is this the "dumbing down" of American popular media? Like the article, I don't think commercial success should be considered; though, it points out, only Juno made more than $100million of all the Best Picture nominations. OR, have we developed a separate category ... the "art film" (which would be like There Will Be Blood), which would add into the ongoing fracturing of the media. It's not enough that there are just "comedies" or "horrors" or "action pics." In fact, it's seeming like if you fall into a "genre film" category, your likelihood of being nom'd is out the window. Maybe these art films are the best of the year -- but no one is watching them. Where is the value there?

So the question is: What qualities make "The Best Picture." (There is an argument, I'm sure, that mass appeal and popular consumption should immediately indicate that it is a BEST PICTURE).

The other slightly disturbing thing: there's not a single sequel on the 1976 list. Seven of the 10 on the 2008 list are sequels. And one more is the first in a trilogy (I'm considering Star Wars I and III sequels, whereas Star Wars IV to be the first of the trilogy; I'm considering Spider-Man a sequel as it is a sequel and an addition to the Spider-Man mythos).

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