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Oscars on the right path to representing a wider scope of movies

Hollywood, since its inception, has captivated the hearts and imaginations of millions.

Almost everyone at some point has fantasized about his or her shining moment. Whether you’re partial to Tom Hanks, Vin Diesel or Nicole Kidman, somewhere deep inside is a fantasy about being a star. As Hollywood has certainly taught us, we know that anything’s possible in the land of movie magic.

Consequently, Hollywood moguls have to have some way of separating the haves from the have-nots.

Enter a small, golden man with a crusader’s sword standing atop a reel of film. This is Oscar.

Every year in early spring, the rich, beautiful and yes, even the talented, gather at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre for industrial honors – The Academy (as in “I’d like to thank the”) of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The Academy hands Oscar to the very elite – those who, over the last year, have made us laugh, cry and experience a myriad of emotions.

From the moment their rarified feet touch the temporal tapestry of the red carpet, stars, directors, key grips, best boys – even seat fillers – exude a special message: This is the biggest night of the year for movies.

Why should this year be any different? Film enthusiasts say that the lineup may be lacking. The viewer turnout should be pretty strong, though, because of the blockbuster hit “Avatar,” which is up for nine nominations.

Of course, this cinematic phenomenon is worth discussing for the sake of its significance in the film industry over the past year. James Cameron, director and writer of “Avatar,” has poured his lifelong dreams and voracious work ethic into the movie. At first, moviegoers seemed skeptical when they heard tall, lanky, blue people would be starring in what was expected to be a box office hit.

A huge nod goes to “Avatar” for breaking special effects barriers and providing a pretty good storyline. When Cameron berated the Academy for not giving a nomination to the actors, I think a line should have been drawn. Never before has an animated character won an Academy Award for acting, nor should it.

Other buzz-worthy nominations include the true artistic successes of films such as “District 9,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “Inglourious Basterds.” These gems are filled with visually appealing elements as well as engaging storylines.

As for Best Picture, the Academy decided to double up on its nominations this year, choosing 10 instead of five. Why? Perhaps there were too many fantastic pictures to choose from or perhaps there were too many mediocre ones. In actuality, this announcement was released at the end of June last year and the Academy did have good reason for it.

In the early days of the Academy Awards, there was a larger pool to select from in each category. So when some people are skeptical that the Oscars might fail to represent the artistic masterpieces of the year, or just run even longer than they have been for the past few years, they needn’t worry.

Personally, I have faith in the Academy members, and perhaps even more so now that they’ve chosen the comedic pair of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to host for the night. When March 7 arrives, the Oscars will be different. But I think it will be for the better. Although some movies seem to lack the caliber of an Academy Award-nominated film, there are still plenty of films that could fall somewhere on the “Greatest Movies of All Time” list.

One thing is for sure, Oscar won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Judith Schomp is a freshman political science and film-TV-digital media major from Lindale.

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