Did you know that Only four times in the last 30 years has the year’s top-grossing film won best picture at the Oscars — 1988’s “Rain Man,” 1994’s “Forrest Gump,” 1997’s “Titanic” and 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” So does this mean the Academy Award has a disconnect with the general viewing audience or is the audience the one missing the boat.
It is a little of both. Somewhere along the line the word “Popular” became a bad thing like being an “intellectual”. Somehow people in the know only believe something can be great if it is hoarded over by a select few who really “get it”. Then another group believes that these artsy movies suck no matter what. Again, both are a little right as evidenced by even this year’s box office of the nominees as listed below (Great Box Office Info HERE) –
- The Artist – 28 Million
- The Descendants – 76 Million
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – 30 Million
- The Help – 169 Million
- Hugo – 67 Million
- Midnight In Paris – 56 Million
- Moneyball – 75 Million
- The Tree Of Life – 13 Million
- War Horse – 78 Million
Out of all the above only The Help appear in the Top 40 in US Domestic Box Office results and they finished at #13. Warhorse, The Descendants and Moneyball were the only other nominated movies to finish in the Top 50 box office wise. Tree of Life and The Artist (The probable winner) are not even in the top 100!
So does that mean the Artist was great or that the sample size is so small that there is no way to tell? I can tell you from my viewing experience that Tree of Life has no business being nominated this year and this comes from someone who likes Terrence Malick and Brad Pitt. It is a bad movie that was is getting a Terrence Malick “suffering artist” respectful nomination.
Now I am not saying that I wish to see Transformers (#2 Box Office) nominated for every award but I think their is some middle ground that could be achieved. I think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was one of the 5 best movies I saw in 2011 however, it did not receive a Best Film nomination due to the fact that the director is not known, lack of a known cast and a 22 million domestic box office (Still more than Tree of Life). I think the Academy right now is a lot like the Baseball Hall of Fame…they are more interested in protecting the image/prestige that they believe an Oscar means as opposed to just nominating the BEST films of the year.
I know the political side of this is just as important based on all the lobbying that goes on but in the end if the Academy Awards do not evolve at a quicker rate I can see a time in the near future where they become like the Emmy’s…a nice show with no real meaning.