Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blockbusters and the Oscars

Since the mid-'70s, every summer Hollywood unloads another big budget film full of technical wizardry and amusement park thrills upon the moviegoing public. Every few years or so there is always one or two of these so-called blockbusters that rise above the rest and are hailed both by audiences and critics alike, leading people in the industry to believe that these films that were originally just seen as cheap thrill rides, to now be contenders for the Academy Awards.

Blockbusters and the Academy have a long running history. From the very first blockbuster, Jaws, to my favorite film of all-time Star Wars, blockbusters have time-and-time again found themselves in the midst of all the pretentious Oscar fare in which Hollywood pumps out each year at the same insane rate that they do with these more commercial pieces of filmmaking. Even still, it took till 2003 for a blockbuster to finally win the top prize, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and that was the third and final film in that franchise.

Many out there still have this stigma about blockbusters being thrown around amongst the more "artistic" fare produced. But this year, with the Best Picture race being expanded from five to ten nominees, many believe that this will only increase the chances of another blockbuster to someday walk away with the top prize. Personally, I'd love to see that happen once more.

As a filmgoer I like all kinds of films, whether they be small, intimate pieces of filmmaking, or big, loud action extravaganzas, it doesn't matter to me, as long as the film itself is good. Many are looking at this year and all of the big blockbusters, wondering if this could be the year. Personally I doubt it, but there are still a few blockbusters from this year that I wouldn't count out of the Oscar race.

After seeing Star Trek again, I definitely believe that this film has what it takes to impress the Academy, it was chock full of emotion, was extremely well crafted, and was an enjoyable experience as well. Another film getting much Oscar buzz is District 9, the film about prejudice against aliens. The film was seen as an allegory against racism, and it took critics and audiences by storm. The other film is Avatar, which has yet to be released, but is being talked up big time due to its groundbreaking CGI-work and 3-D effects. Ultimately Avatar still has yet to be seen, but it is a strong frontrunner at the current moment. If Avatar happens to fail to deliver I would not be surprised to possibly see the latest Harry Potter film, The Half-Blood Prince thrown into the Best Picture mix as well.

Ultimately I am more excited for this Oscar season than any previous year, simply because the Oscar race itself seems to be more spread out over the film spectrum than we've probably ever seen it before, for that reason alone I am pulling for any off these four blockbusters in which I've mentioned.

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