Monday, February 21, 2005

Best Pictures?

The Academy Awards will be held next Sunday. It seems like there is far less anticipation leading up to this year's presentations than there has been in the past couple of years. Perhaps that is due to the films that the Academy has chosen to nominate for its top award of Best Picture. This year's nominees are: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray and Sideways.

If you're scratching your head, wondering where on earth this list came from, you are not alone. I heard on the radio this week that these five movies have been seen by fewer people than any set of nominees in the past. That doesn't surprise me a bit. I see a lot of movies, and I have only seen one of these films. I suppose that the low attendance of these films is due in part to the time of year in which they were released.

Still, this leads me to ask a very basic question: Can a movie truly be "Best Picture" if the public didn't want to see it?

I am not suggesting that Best Picture should be turned purely into a box office award. Money is a good reward in and of itself. But, I have a hard time believing that movies are an art form that has an inherent value that transcends public approval. Of course, the film industry only remains in existence due to the dollars brought in by big budget blockbusters like Spiderman and Terminator. And yet, the Academy seems to revel in showing how much it can appreciate films that unwashed masses have rejected.