Turn Off the Academy Awards - An Opinion on Oscar Night

Last year Lord of the Rings fans around the globe waited eagerly for Academy Awards Night. With 13 nominations, more than any other film in the race, the Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring seemed positioned to carry away a healthy number of statuettes if not the entire sweep. At the end of the night, though, Peter Jackson and company left with only four awards: soundtrack, visual effects, make-up, and cinematography.

This year the Two Towers doesn't even have a chance. while Chicago strutted away with 13 nominations, the Two Towers received six as a pat on the head from the Academy. Peter Jackson received no credit for his work as a director; none of the actors received nominations; not even Howard Shore's music received a nod (although the Academy saw nothing wrong in nominating John Williams's twice in a row).

Hollywood is deliberately snubbing these films and it needs to stop. While Chicago, A Beautiful Mind and other films that have been in competition with the Lord of the Rings have been good films, the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers are great films. Some Tolkien fans are understandably frustrated with the alterations Peter Jackson has made while adapting the story. But judging them purely as a piece of film craft, these movies are untouchable. The acting is brilliant. The story is powerful. They have broken almost all the bounds of filmmaking and stand as some of the most moving, imaginative, thought-provoking movies ever made. Yet the Hollywood Academy refuses to acknowledge any of this.

But what can anyone do about it? The answer is simple--don't watch the Academy Awards this year. It is a pretty sure bet that Chicago and the Hours will take the sweeps. They have already carried both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. We have by now heard their speeches at the two previously mentioned ceremonies. The only other reason to watch the Awards is to see what outfits the stars will wear. But People magazine's full-coverage issue conveniently eliminates that reason too. So this Sunday, March 23, don't waste your time watching Oscar. Find something more enjoyable. Go see the Two Towers. Watch the Fellowship (the extended version of course). Or pick up the books and dive into the trilogy all over again.

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