Right now, I am watching the 87th Academy Awards and as usual, I struggle while watching because unfortunately, I haven’t seen so many of the films that are being announced, and I’m a Film Studies teacher! There are various reasons for this, and it’s very frustrating. WHY I HAVEN’T SEEN THE OSCAR WINNERS/NOMINEES YET
- The money! Now I know it’s a well kept secret, but we teachers make A LOT of money. Right. Hopefully, you’re saying it with me. Back to the reasons though! I have such a hard time coughing up the money to pay for the movie theater tickets, and I know I’m not alone. Back in my single days, I only had to buy one ticket, so it didn’t matter as much (my expenses were also not as substantial at that time either for various reasons; however, now being a young married couple with Parker in medical school, suddenly that makes two tickets at $10 a piece a little hard to justify in our budget. In college, I frequented the dollar theater just on principle, but I remember knowing many families who were there out of necessity. Now, I’m with them. I get it. $20 for two seems huge! I can only imagine families trying to have a night out with four and five tickets to buy. One of my students last semester wrote an excellent open letter to movie theaters about their prices and why they should consider changing them. While I’m sure that there are many reasons for the continual raise in their prices, such as instant streaming cutting back their revenue and the rise in costs to show them and run the business, I can’t help the fact that $20 right now with a medical school budget seems like a lot.
- Their release dates. Having read The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System, written by film critic Anne Thompson who writes at Thompson On Hollywood, I understand the process of the Oscar process more. Typically, films that want to win an Oscar are released later in the calendar year at the most prestigious film festivals, which if I’m not mistaken are mostly towards the end of the year. This is sometimes because of the festivals themselves or an easier reason to comprehend: a later release means that they are fresh on Academy members’ minds when it comes to being nominated and/or voted for. Thus when films like The Imitation Game are released on Christmas Day at the same time as Unbroken and Into the Woods, how can I possibly see them all? I know, I know. It’s February; I’ve had two months, but then we loop back to my first excuse: the $$$ & the dreaded budget. (I’m also waiting to see Unbroken until I have read the book, which my book club is reading in April.) I HAVE to see Still Alice and The Theory of Everything too! Still Alice is on hold for the book too.
- Lastly, I struggle with the strong language in so many of the nominees and winners. I LOVE history films and other dramas. Though I probably shouldn’t rationalize that viewing extreme violence doesn’t bother me as much as other content, profanity really does bother me and most of the films that are nominated and currently being awarded have so much profanity. Not just the “small” swearwords as I like to call them, but the strong ones for me personally. I talked about the dreaded F-bomb in my post 50 Shades of Crap when I mentioned the film The Wolf of Wall Street. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that word. I really don’t. As a teacher, it’s not like I don’t hear it. Students drop it in the hallways and out in the lunch areas; sometimes you can tell that the younger ones are simply trying to sound cool. Of course in the school setting, they obviously get in trouble for such language, but they still try to sneak it in when they can. While I can understand that in some films, the use of strong language is accurate to the film’s setting, story, and content, I still struggle with wanting to hear that much language. I also think that sometimes filmmakers include language unnecessarily and too gratuitously. I own my conservatism in this area, but I still hold onto it and embrace it. Parker and I value clean language, and we want to practice what we preach in that sense.
Well, I’ve said it! I have decided the only way to satisfy my frustrations in my current circumstances is to view the Oscars as the Academy’s endorsement for what to see now! I’ve taught Film Studies twice before and am teaching it for the third time right now. This is the first time I’ve been able to teach it during the winter semester so that I can teach it in conjunction with the Oscars ceremony.
I love the art of film, I love the entertainment of film, and I love studying and learning more about it every day. It’s such a triple threat! Great stories, great sights, and great sounds. As a human being, I read and write because I can’t imagine life without connecting with humanity and other people. They allow empathy, growth, and learning. They inspire imagination, opportunities, and possibilities.
(Nice! The Imitation Game just won Best Adapted Screenplay! Can’t wait to see it! Also I’m excited to see The Theory of Everything from the preview alone, I love Eddie Redmayne and would love to see him win Best Actor! The Academy usually doesn’t pick my favorites though.) (YES!!! HE JUST GOT IT! I really didn’t think he’d get it! “I’m a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar, wow!…This belongs to the people with ALS…I’m its custodian.”) (One of my students is going to be thrilled! She loves Julianne Moore!) NOTE: Two wins for acting involve illnesses. The Academy is consistent.
I’m really curious what other teachers, parents, and anyone thinks about the Oscar winners and nominations. There’s such a debate between freedom of expression and censorship and over-protecting children and exposing them too early. How does your family decide about media in your home? What are favorite films? I would love hearing other people’s thoughts. I hope I didn’t wait too long to ask these questions, seeing as how the Oscars are playing as I write! P.S. Most of the films that I am so excited to see are at our $2 theater now! SWEET!