It can’t be any secret that I thoroughly appreciate and enjoy the Harry Potter series. I didn’t expect to. When reviews of the first book came out, I thought it was probably a simplistic book for young people, but our grandson was, at that time, just at the age when I thought he might enjoy what I thought was ‘that sort of book’, so I got a copy so as to keep up with his interests. Even when the books became totally omnipresent, I didn’t read them, although I bought them all as they appeared. Then the first movie came out and I became quite thoroughly hooked, even though the story was all new to me. But not for long. After that movie, I read all the books published up to then, which were the first four, then as soon as each book came out I grabbed it up like a kid, then insisted on watching each subsequent movie as they came along. At one point, when the movie of the Half Blood Prince was due to appear, I re-read all the books through that one. When The Deathly Hallows was released, and the two movies of that book appeared, I was there. Our whole family shared my enthusiasm. Even those who did not choose to read the books still enjoyed the films. And here is why: those seven books and eight films are simply superb. They illustrate what I perceive the author to be saying: that family and extended family and friendships are more important than anything else, and that they will sustain us through even total evil. And further, that they do not prevent evil, that evil is there, but that it can be fought. In other words, to me, these stories are about real life. And full of life lessons. And the writing is so deceptively simple, the stories so layered and imaginative, that it is easy to take it all for granted.
And of course that is exactly what the World of Hollywood has done. Because, as Daniel Radcliffe, a/k/a our Harry, has remarked, Hollywood simply took all the amazing phenomena that is the Harry Potter World as obliviously as possible, and what recognition was received for the films, by obscure nominations, was almost a non-event. So what we have is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an organization theoretically created to recognize creativity and art in film, which has almost completely failed to recognize one of the most incredibly creative and artistic accomplishments of the entire film industry. An accomplishment of such rich writing, acting, directing and special effects that it presented an entire world, populated by some of the best acting talent on the planet, and encompassing an incredible eight films, with the original cast, save for Richard Harris’s death and replacement by Michael Gambon.
And this situation simply compels me to state that the Academy, by failing to recognize properly such a unique and splendid entity that is the Harry Potter oeuvre, has sadly diminished itself. So the Academy will straggle along with its narrow and diminishing impact, choosing, this year, a silent film of all things, charming but light, as Best Picture, while the World of Harry Potter will live on for a very long time, in books and film and hearts.