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Yesterday the high and mighty Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released this year’s Oscar nominations.  And, thus I began my yearly tradition of railing once more against the Academy.

You see, the Academy and I rarely see eye to eye.  You can trace the roots back to such debacles as the 1977 awarding of Best Picture to “Annie Hall” over “Star Wars” or the 1985 win of “Out of Africa” over “The Color Purple.”  But, while these things really irk me, my real problem with the Academy is the snobbery they have shown. 

For example, how long were directors Steven Spielberg Martin Scorsese and overlooked for Best Director Oscars? Two of the most celebrated directors of the modern era had to wait until 1993 (Spielberg for “Schindler’s List”) and 2006 (Scorsese for “The Departed”) to get recognition.  And, don’t get me started on the Academy’s long tradition of overlooking science-fiction and fantasy films which has only recently been broken by such un-ignorable phenomena as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “Avatar.”

The problems this year are just irritating. 

J.J. Abrams rebooted one of the most classic film franchises in history so successfully that the new franchise almost looks superior to the original in some ways.  He had a cast and crew that created one of the best films of the year from almost every angle.  And yet, “Star Trek” got no nominations in the major categories.  You have to get down to the technical and trade categories to find it mentioned.

The Academy expanded the Best Picture nomination pool from five to ten this year.  One would think that this would mean a greater variety in the genres represented.  But comedies like “The Hangover” were given no access to the top award this year.

Several years ago the Academy felt it necessary to create a “Best Animated Feature” category.  This closed the Best Picture door on such films as “Spirited Away” and “Ratatouille.”  And yet, this year, with the expanded pool, we see “Up” (a film that I feel is one of the more inferior of Pixar’s releases) garnered a Best Picture nod.

It may seem like I am a bit petty, but the Academy Awards have managed to close the door to so many fine films garnering the wider audience nomination brings with their elitist attitude toward the industry and their constant changing of the rules to support their snobbery. 

It just makes me sad that so many deserving individuals are going unrecognized.  The Academy really needs to get its head out of its posterior.


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