The Academy Awards: a Fair Representation?
I didn’t even bother watching the Academy Awards this year. Why? Because most of the films nominated I had never even heard of, and the ones I did hear of, I had never seen.
Another reason why I didn’t watch the Academy Awards was because the movie I most wanted to see win, “Harry Potter,” once again failed to get nominated for one of the more prestigious awards such as Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture. And the categories that it was nominated for (Make-up, Art Direction, and Visual Effects), the movie didn’t even win. So the “Harry Potter” franchise, through the course of ten years, has never won an Oscar.
It’s clear that the fan base (which is quite large) supported the campaign to get major nominations, yet they had no such luck. I think fans understood that “Potter” probably wouldn’t get some of the nominations that whoever was pushing for, but they, as well as I, were completely shocked when “Potter” didn’t even win the awards that it was nominated for, a move, we felt, was a complete and intentional snub by the Academy.
But how could this happen? Regardless of whether you are a fan or not, everyone can appreciate the impact that these eight films have had. From a purely aesthetic viewpoint, the movie is of great quality in the cast (which features several acclaimed actors and actresses), amazing visual effects and the unforgettable musical score. The answer lies within The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This is the group of people who choose which films get nominated for the Oscars; a group that is nearly 94% white and 77% male. The LA Times took the time to investigate who exactly was voting for the Oscars and found some startling statistics. Reporters for the LA Times confirmed the identities of more than 5,100 Oscar voters (more than 89% of all active voting members) and found that they are mostly white, male and have a median age of 62. Compare this to the median age of moviegoers at 31.
The slogan for the Oscars is “Recognizing the year’s best films”. But best films to whom? Do we want old, white men picking which movies deserve an Oscar? I don’t.
Of course, they would pick movies that better appealed to them such as “The Artist” (a black and white silent film), or “Moneyball” (which is about baseball). However, the complete lack of any consideration towards what the everyday people think is appalling. Let us once more look at “Harry Potter.” To date, the franchise is the top grossing movie franchise in all history and the eighth film alone is the number three top grossing movie of all time just behind “Titanic” and “Avatar.” If that doesn’t scream ‘popular movie,’ I don’t know what does. But let’s also examine “Avatar.” It was nominated for many Academy Awards yet only walked away with three in the categories of Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects, all technical categories.
I believe that the Academy needs to rethink who they let choose winners and nominees for the Oscars. The pool of voters seems very bland and biased, causing some films that deserve credit and recognition for their hard work to be overlooked.