For your consideration

How The Oscars shape the film industry

Jordan Zy


It’s that time of year again, when families come together to celebrate the old tradition of going to the movies: ‘tis Oscar season, my friends. Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards the best of the best in film.

“Oscar season” describes the sudden hype of amazing films released in November and December. Hollywood releases the films late in the year to keep them fresh in the minds of those who nominate films for awards, and also because movie-going rates rise during the holiday season. When The Oscars ceremony takes place in February, some movies are still in theaters and receive a huge spike in sales when they win.

Disregarding genre, I categorize good movies into two types: Blockbusters and Oscar bait. Blockbusters are those high-budget movies everyone wants to see, like Marvel films or side-splitting comedies. Oscar bait films are regarded as critically acclaimed, “good” movies.

Blockbuster season is usually a summertime affair, while Oscar season begins late in the year. (Pro-tip: Avoid most movies released early in the year like the plague. No studios are fighting for those slots. Wait to rent it.) If you’ve been to the movies recently, then you’ve probably seen some Oscar contenders already. Many critics online are already making predictions as to which movies and actors will get the Oscar nod this year.

“Interstellar” is a prime example of a movie destined for a Best Picture nomination. But if you’re rooting for it to win, don’t get your hopes up. I’ve been watching for nearly a decade, and I’m guessing “Interstellar” will go the way of “Gravity” and “Avatar”: the movie everyone saw and loved won’t get the big win. It never does.

If you want to go for safe bet, look to what I call “the obvious choices.” Films that focus on heavy moments in history, feature dramatic monologues or focus on touchy issues are usually headed for these awards. In years past, these choices have been truly great, such as “The King’s Speech” and “12 Years A Slave.” This year the contenders could be “Selma” or “Boyhood.”

Then there are the nominations that fit into the category I call “Jordan’s choice,” which also somehow never win. Whether this is because I pick poorly (there was no way “Juno” could have taken down “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” in 2007, but I rooted for the young adult comedy anyway) or because I tend to like hard-to-love films like “Inglourious Basterds” and “Black Swan” is anyone’s prediction.

Now is a perfect time to see movies with your family or go on a date to a film that isn’t a flop. And once the Super Bowl hype ends, it’s time to pregame for the Oscars on February 22 with this year’s illustrious host, Neil Patrick Harris.

Jordan is a senior studying psychology.