Headline the Daily Prophet: Harry Potter robbed by Muggles. The nominations for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Picture are: The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, The Help, Midnight in Paris, War Horse, Moneyball, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and The Tree of Life. It is the year of the non-movie award. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is conspicuously absent. It has been supremely dissed by mortals. Who has perpetrated this crime? Answer: every 'prestigious' (whatever that means) award-giving group.
Enough already Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences-- start nominating movies that are terrific -- no matter the genre. Some of the nominated movies are boring, unwatchable, obtuse or totally uninteresting to moviegoers and not just the youth audience that makes up 80 percent of the cinema going public. The Academy also ignored Bridesmaids by failing to give it a best movie nod. It is a disgrace to treat a fabulous comedy movie like #&*%. So what that it has crudity in it -- get real. Stop being so last century.
What can be done? Is it time for the movie public -- the viewers -- to engage in a national TV boycott? Is it time to tune out the Oscar telecast after the Billy Crystal monologue? Billy Crystal will start the show with a bang but it will be downhill from there with no hope. I predict he will not be able to keep the viewer interest to the end. A boycott would teach the Academy that self-insulated kingdoms should not fool with the paying audience. If few watch the Oscar telecast, there will be serious scrutiny of continued high cost television advertising of future Oscar broadcasts. The Oscars are already a bit shaky with the audience. Take viewer power a step further: demand a public accounting of all Oscar ballots, especially since there was a new selection process to determine the nominees. Let's see some transparency behind this travesty of reason. It is time for the Academy to open itself up to those whom without which there would be no movies -- the freight paying audience.
Harry Potter was an outstanding, well-crafted movie in every category: well produced, well directed, well acted and entertaining. It was No. 1 in worldwide box office (that is not to say that number one automatically means great artistic work, but in this case it does merit strong consideration.) It concluded an eight-movie series run that was fabulous, socially significant for young moviegoers, drew in moviegoers of all ages, and was, of course, a massive financial success. It won The People's Choice top awards for 2012 for Favorite Movie, Action Movie, Ensemble Movie Cast and Book Adaptation.
Compared to the list of recent movies past, are any of the nine nominated movies truly in the category of Best Picture -- able to be viewed fondly by the next generation? Any Oscar winning picture should be one you desire to see over and over again and feel that with each play it is a rewarding experience. Arguably no picture this year falls in that category. Not one comes close to losers of past. Inglorious Basterds was genius with the fabulous acting of Brad Pitt, the maniacal Nazi played by Christopher Weitz, and the directorial creative effort put in by the always-groundbreaking Quentin Tarantino. Last year's The Fighter and The Social Network were clearly far above the movies nominated this year. And of course, last years Best Picture Oscar winner The King's Speech needs no words.
As a producer out to make money -- which movie would you rather have produced: Harry Potter or the Tree of Life? The latter movie was like watching snow melt. I fell asleep viewing it. And I woke up to turn it off never to replay it again unless I wish to use it in place of a sleep aid. The Academy also nominated Hugo. Hugo was a loser at the box office: an art picture made for $150 million plus. If it were not for Scorsese would we even be talking about it? The Descendants -- the message that a parent should relate to his children is important. That being said the overall audience impact does not mean it should be an Oscar nominee. Once was enough for me to watch it. As for Warhorse the play -- whether the London or American version -- it is masterful in pacing, artistry and as entertainment. The movie on the other hand was too bloody and boring or as they say across the pond -- bloody boring. Even the children in my household lost interest early on. Harry Potter was the leading grosser in the world for 2011 releases about -- $1.32 billion. I guess Hollywood would rather produce a flop.
I love films and movies. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must stop acting with ancient out-of-date mentality. If you want to argue that a Best Picture nominee should have a social message, The Help qualifies this year under that criterion. And it is quite a good movie even with the criticism that the material left out the significant sexual harassment foisted upon the women who were the actual help in history. It is my hope that since Harry Potter is not nominated that The Artist wins the award -- not because I think it deserves to (even though it is deserving of a wide audience because it is charming and witty) -- but how else can you best typify how very poor a year it is when a movie with almost no spoken words and in black and white can be the bastion of excellence in 2011.
When the television ratings substantially drop, maybe someone will think of the tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. Remember when the little boy tells his parent: 'The emperor has no clothes!'? The Academy is behaving like the emperor. Hopefully by the time The Dark Knight Rises premiers this coming summer, Oscar voters will have learned their lesson.
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