David Harsanyi
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Four other movies in the top 10 were animated features, and one was a vampire movie. I have not seen all these films, but I am relatively certain most Americans rather would watch any of them -- even if they were shown in a continuous loop and overdubbed in Mandarin Chinese -- than sit through a single viewing of the Oscar-nominated English-accented picture "The Reader."

As a movie buff, my hope for Hollywood was renewed temporarily last year, when two great American films, "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood," vied for Best Picture. Surely, Hollywood can make artistically relevant movies that the average moviegoer also can enjoy?

My hopes quickly were dashed when, this year, I realized the words "Sean" and "Penn" would mingle once again with the words "Academy" and "Award."

It often is pointed out that box-office numbers and quality are not tied to each other. That's for sure. But one glaring example of the disconnect between the Academy and the moviegoer is "The Dark Knight," the top-grossing movie of the year. Critically acclaimed, surely this movie held the artistic merits of, say, "Frost/Nixon"?

These days, every dollar counts. The Oscars should start to recognize worthy performances that American moviegoers actually have enjoyed. Some must exist.

Another constructive step would be to stop gratuitously praising Brad Pitt. It just encourages him.

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