I am a huge movie buff, and the Oscars have always been a highlight of my year. Throughout middle school and high school, I would stay up one night a year to see what movies, actors, and directors made the grade.
But when I entered college, I began to realize that many my age did not share my love for Hollywood’s biggest night. Most of my peers didn’t bother to learn about the nominees, see the nominated movies, or even watch the ceremony itself. It is common knowledge that most college students enjoy going to the movies, yet most of them did not bother with any sort of Oscar buzz.
But this year was different.
This year, my fellow students seemed to pump up for the Oscars like they would for the Super Bowl. Residence Halls had watch parties, people made predictions, and everyone had an opinion on who or what should win.
There are multiple reasons as to why this interest shift happened. Many could argue that the new tone of the Oscars (young hosts, etc.) made the ceremony appeal to a younger demographic, but in my opinion, I don’t think that really made a difference.
In my opinion, the decisions to add additional slots to the Best Picture category had the most impact. Normally, indie and “artsy” films are what flood the nomination process. To a film critic, this is not a problem – but to the average movie goer, these films are not very appealing. However, the Academy is now including blockbuster hits and box office successes to the list as well; films like Inception, True Grit, and Toy Story 3 (all great films) were nominated in a variety of categories. These films would not have been nominated four years ago because of the cap on the Best Picture category, but because of their nominations this year, there was an added interest in a younger generation.
When I would discuss the awards with my peers, all I would generally hear about was The Social Network or Inception, and nothing about The King’s Speech (my personal favorite of the year) or Winter’s Bone. Imagine everyone’s disappointment when Inception didn’t win Best Picture.
Whether or not the ratings for the Oscars were better this
year, their attempt to appeal to a younger demographic was a success. Hopefully this trend will continue to develop, and more and more people will discover a love for an art form that is unlike