Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Pop Culture Vault:
Volume 1 Pt 2 Last year, the Year of LOTR

With all this Oscar fever going around, I'm starting to feel a little bit sentimental for Oscar ceremonies gone by. Namely last year's academy awards, when Lord of the Rings won in every single category that it was nominated in, culminating in a whopping total of eleven oscars. It was truly a historic moment. For the first time the Oscars had chosen to honor a fantasy/sci-fi film with two of the most prestigious honors of the evening, Best Director, and Best Picture.

Everyone knows its the big overwrought dramas and epics that usually take home the best picture and director awards. For years people have protested the fact that more comedies aren't honored, decrying the Academy for being too serious and stuffy in their nominee selection. Now its time for the next push. Further recognition of science fiction and fantasy films as well. Why is it that Finding Neverland (a benign but highly over rated film in my opinion) got a best picture nod, and not Spiderman 2? Beacuse it has the word two in its title? Because it's based on a comic book? It's simply not fair. It is in fact, nonsense.

In 1977, both Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were released in theatres. While Star Wars garnered a nod for best pic, Close Encounters did not, and only took home one of the flurry of technical awards it was nominated for. What won that year? Annie Hall. Now I know I'm treading onto dangerous territory here because that movie is sacrosanct to many, but that was, in the words of my little brother, "total B.S. man." Not only did Steven Speilberg's MASTERPIECE go without a best pic nod, but Star Wars, a film which is ALSO superior to Woody Allen's comedy, did not win. Those of you who know me might be shocked to hear me say this, but I actually think of the two, Close Encounters should have won. That film is absolutely incredible. Star Wars is incredible too, though I must say my feelings for it have been - how should we say- sullied by recent additions to the saga put forth by he whom I now refer to as "crazy ole georgie porgie"

Bringing it back to this years Oscars' (which I think everyone can agree is a fairly lackluster year) - I think Spiderman 2 AND Harry Potter 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban, should have gotten nods in the best picture catagory. I realize that fantasy, comic books, and science fiction are not for everyone, but I am always annoyed by the easy way that people brush off films in these genres, choosing to assume the worst about them. Yes, these sorts of movies can in fact be insightful, moving, socially relavent, and intelligent, just as the Lord of the Rings saga was. So tonight I think I will raise a glass to Peter Jackson and his crew, and wax nostalgic upon their fantastical winnings last year.

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