Mar 062006
Authors: Megan Schulz

I usually catch the Oscars every year out of habit. Being a movie junkie and a reformed E! Television addict, I love to see my favorite stars walk the red carpet and get emotional while making acceptance speeches. That being said, there are always peculiar trends (and not just in clothing) that I find at the Oscars each year.

Usually, I tend to agree with the decisions for best picture, best actor, etc. These films are great works of cinematography; who can deny that "Million Dollar Baby" was phenomenal? But the nominees in many categories just aren't representative of public opinion.

The top domestic grossing movie of 2005 was "Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith." This year's best picture winner, "Crash," was No. 49. Even "The Pacifier," a movie with Vin Diesel and a duck, had it beat. If you ask many college of males what their favorite movie of 2005 was, you will probably hear "Wedding Crashers." So why is it that Americans just don't flock to Oscar-caliber movies?

The answer is that we just don't care. This year's Oscar ratings dropped 10 percent from last year. Maybe in these times of war and public dissent, we just don't want to be reminded of the fame and fortune of movie stars and their penchant for using award shows, such as the Oscars, for voicing political opinions.

I was surprised at the speeches of this year's recipients. They were relatively tame. Most of the political jabs came from host Jon Stewart. Obviously, this is to be expected. In general, everyone was well behaved. Let's not forget that it was only three years ago when we had to listen to Michael Moore's tirade about a "fictitious war and a fictitious president" while he accepted his Oscar.

I have strong opinions about celebrities using their fame to publicize their own religious and political agendas. If you read my column on Tom Cruise and Scientology, you already know this. I would like to believe that Oscar ratings are going down because Americans are wising up to Hollywood agendas.

When we think about all of the disasters that happened in 2005, such as Hurricane Katrina, we do not want to be reminded of just how ridiculously rich celebrities are. Just for being a presenter at the 2006 Oscars, a star could expect to receive a goodie bag valued at more than $100,000.

The least expensive item in the goodie bag was worth $600, an amount of money that many inhabitants of this world are likely never to see. I would like to believe that all of the celebrities entitled to receive a goodie bag either donated it or flat-out denied it. But I doubt this is true.

This is why the Hollywood campaign against piracy is useless in my opinion. The makers of this crusade are going to have to come up with a better premise that doesn't involve me feeling sorry for members of the movie industry. Like many other moviegoers, I am smarter than that, and those efforts are just a waste of time.

And so, I will continue to enjoy great movies as my own personal form of escapism. I will watch the Oscars and other award shows, but I won't forgive the greed of the rich and famous.

Megan Schulz is a sophomore technical journalism major. Her column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.


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