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Opinion

Oscar night should feature more blockbusters

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February 18, 2015

This Sunday marks one of the busiest, most exciting days both in Hollywood and the entire movie world; it’s the Oscars, a night to recognize some of the best films and actors of the year.

This year, it will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, who has experience hosting an awards show; but mainly, it’s the Tony Awards in June. Between his unexpected, yet hopefully entertaining, but probably obnoxious, song numbers, the over-the-top dresses, and the horribly long speeches, we will all together be able to learn about so many great films that we have never heard of before.

That brings me to my first contemplation regarding the Oscars. Some well-advertised, much-talked-about movies do get nominated, but it’s usually for something like, Best Costume Design, or Best Animated Feature.

Last year, the critically acclaimed Disney film “Frozen” won the latter award; and this year, the well-advertised film “Into the Woods” is up for Best Costume Design and Best Lead Actress–Meryl Streep, obviously. But often, films up for the biggest awards such as Best Picture are unfamiliar to many people.

I will admit it, I had never heard of “12 Years a Slave” until it won Best Picture last year. At least this year, familiar movies such as “Selma” and “American Sniper” are nominated. I hope this is a continuing pattern in the coming years.

Another contemplation I have held for years is why the films up for awards all have to be dramas, films with amazing costumes and scenery or contain with a great “message.” Why not comedies or even horror or thriller films?

Let’s be honest, most comedies have one or two witty lines before proceeding with the remainder of the plot. Comedies, horrors and thrillers are perhaps the most difficult to write, direct, and act in. Everyone’s perception of drama and what is sad or moving is pretty similar.

Kill off your most beloved character and there you go, everyone in the theater is sobbing. However, everyone has a different sense of humor and a different perception of what is frightening, whether in a movie or in the real world. That’s why it’s difficult to determine exactly what lines, facial expressions, and scenes will make the audience laugh or cower in fear. That is exactly why so many of these movies have bombed; yet, there are many that found a huge amount of success, such as “The Shining,” directed by Stanley Kubrick, or “Young Frankenstein,” written and directed by Mel Brooks. These films should be recognized.

Another thing I don’t quite understand is why blockbuster movies, such as “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games,” get no recognition. Most people may argue that that would be too predictable or only based on publicity and box office earnings. However, there is a lot of work that goes into these movies that even the biggest fans will never realize.

Locations, scenery, costumes, and high-energy, most likely exhausting, plot lines can go unnoticed. For the amount of work that goes into huge blockbuster films like these, the publicity and high earnings are appropriate. But the Academy needs to realize these actors, producers and directors work too hard to simply go unnoticed on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.

Regardless of where you stand on the Academy’s decisions for what films to nominate each year, this year promises to be an intriguing and rewarding show. While the long speeches, obviously with way too much preparation, become obnoxious after a while, it is always fun to see them stumble over their words once the “out of time” music starts wafting through the room.

It’s also fun to see the dresses: what is gorgeous and what is just plain humiliating. There is bound to be a humiliating dress or two, one to take joy in because you are most certainly not wearing it. And if you don’t know or care about any of the films nominated, well, there’s always next year.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.