Oscar nominees don’t represent popular demand

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 19, 2015

The coveted Oscar statuette will be given to the brightest stars on Sunday, which means I’ll be breaking out the popcorn and plopping in front of my television to watch the show. However, how many of us have actually seen or heard about this year’s Oscar-worthy performances and films?

While many of the 2015 Best Picture nominees including “The Theory of Everything” and “Boyhood” show film at its finest, most of these critically acclaimed movies aren’t the ones filling up theaters.

“American Sniper” is the only Best Picture nominee to make $100 million dollars at the box office, according to USA Today. While the other nominated films like “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” had limited theater releases and less mainstream storylines, which lends to their limited appeal with most moviegoers.

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That fact makes me wonder, how in tune is the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences with pop culture?

While it seems the academy is out of touch with today’s audience, this hasn’t always been the case. Past Oscar-nominated films have been both box office gems and critic’s choices, including “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which had nine nominations and “Titanic” which had 11 wins and three nominations, according to IMBD.com.

It is possible to nominate films that are box office successes as much as they are innovative. Yet it seems the Oscars have ignored public opinion and opted to recognize movies that most people haven’t even heard of.

Of course, it all boils down to the academy members, who select the crop of films to be recognized. Which brings up the question, how does the academy compare to the general movie going population?

According to an MPAA 2013 study, 70 percent of moviegoers are younger than 40, and half of the movie population is comprised of women. However, a study done by the Los Angeles Times in 2012 found that the academy was made up of mostly men with a median age of 62.

Given those statistics, it’s no wonder the Oscars seem out of sync with popular demand.

While the academy does select popular movies from time to time, it seems this year the academy will not share the opinion of most moviegoers.