On Thursday, 12 March 2009 I presented my case study on the Academy Awards. The Academy Awards are considered to be an icon of American popular culture because they glamorize Hollywood and during this event, actors gather together to recognize and awards their fellow actors. During the presentation I gave an overview of the Academy's history, its structure, as well as the outreach programs it provides, and finalized by discussing how the Academy Awards influence media audiences.
The outreach programs (Media Literacy Program, Visiting Arts Program, and Teacher's Guide Series)utilize the excitement generated by the Academy Awards to reach out to young children and students to teach them about film making, critical thinking, creative skills, and allow them to interact with professional filmmakers. I also discussed the "play along" interactive activity created by the Academy Awards as an effort to reach more people and give them a sense of involvement and connection. Through discussion, we concluded that it was an outreach effort to publicize the Academy Awards and a way for them to adjust to 'new media' by not only utilizing television and computers but cell phones as well.
I also discussed how the Academy Awards bring light to controversial movies. For example Schindler's List is a movie about the Holocaust and the hardships that Jews endured during WWII. The subject of the Holocaust still to tends to be unpopular in some circles but the Oscars it received brought attention to it and people were convinced to see it. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) was more of an informative movie that brought to light the social issues that veterans faced once returning from war. It depicted their struggles and adjustments to family life, integrating themselves into society, finding employments, and dealing with peacetime and PTSD. It gave the audience a better understanding of veterans and brought courage and inspiration for them.
Not only do the Academy Awards bring light to movies but also solidify the stars' system established in the early movie era. The stars' system is not only used to promote motion pictures but is also used to promote humanitarian causes. Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie have promoted the cause of helping third world countries. The media follows them through their travels and efforts, convincing the audience to join in their campaign for a better living enviroment for these people. The attention and glamour they gained through the Academy Awards allows them to successfully promote their cause.
The Academy Awards is a much publized glamour function. However, through its educational outreach programs, innovative ways to bring in viewers, and influence it gives its members, it has and will continue to yield a great amount of influence over the public.