Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Do the Oscars Overlook Movies About Young People?

posted by Nell Minow

My friend John Hanlon has a thoughtful piece on about the way the Oscars and other movie awards overlook stories about young people and performances by actors in their teens and twenties.

It’s unfortunate but undeniable that award shows — and the Oscars in particular — have a history of ignoring great movies made for and about young people.

In 2013 alone, several such films received raves from critics, earning spots on “best of” lists. “The Kings of Summer” and “The Way, Way Back” scored approval ratings of 76% and 85% of critics, respectively, on, while “The Spectacular Now,” written by the duo behind 2009’s underappreciated “(500) Days of Summer,” earned the approval of 92% of critics.Brie_larson


“Short Term 12″ received a 99% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, a higher ranking than any of this year’s best picture nominees. “Spring Breakers,” starring James Franco and Selena Gomez, may have divided some moviegoers, but the film was also lauded for its provocative depiction of disaffected youth. And it’s not for nothing that “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was the top grossing film of 2013.

Yet not one of these movies earned a single Oscar nomination.

And he was nice enough to quote me:

Film critic Nell Minow (the Movie Mom) also observed that “Oscar voters skew older.”

“They are more interested in stories about grown-ups and more likely to have relationships with actors and filmmakers who are 30 and older,” Minow said via e-mail.

  • 8iorek

    People (including critics) like movies about young people for soft hearted and soft headed reasons. (which is why movies such as Titanic win best picture). Young people are all potential and no accomplishment. Their behavior is judged on the basis of purity and naivete rather than sharp, mature. If the characters act foolishly or the lines are callow, we still cut them a lot of slack because of the critics’ own nostalgia and wistfulness. These are not conditions that encourage serious, award-worthy achievement, although they do encourage fun (Animal House, etc.)

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