Adult Films: Why Oscars Ignore Movies About Millennials, by John Hanlon

Youth-obsessed Academy oldsters give no respect to films about young characters 

SHORT TERM 12, THE SPECTACULAR NOW, and THE WAY, WAY BACK received as high or higher critical ratings than any of this year’s best picture nominees. So why weren’t any of them nominated?

By John Hanlon  CNN

short_term_twelve_ver4_xlgWhen people talk about the cinematic geniuses of the 1980s, one name invariably comes up — John Hughes. For young people growing up then and even today, the writer-director’s name conjures up memories of unforgettable films.

From “Sixteen Candles” (1984) and “The Breakfast Club” (1985) to “Pretty in Pink” (1986) and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986), Hughes was responsible for a series of films that openly and honestly explored the exhilaration and tumultuousness of adolescence.

It’s been nearly three decades since those movies arrived in theaters, but audiences still watch and enjoy them as if they were made yesterday. However, despite the love audiences have shown for his work, Hughes was never nominated for an Academy Award.

Hughes isn’t alone in being an outstanding filmmaker whose features about people under 30 were overlooked during awards season. 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.

“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.

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