Why Les Miserables Won’t Win Best Picture, and Why It Doesn’t Matter

les miz

I am a Les Miserables fanatic. I’ve seen the play twelve times since 1985. My collection of Les Miserables souvenirs include several coffee mugs, two keychains, one the brass keychain of the theater ticket, two match boxes, t-shirt, sweatshirt, nightshirt, beach towel, pen, movie and play posters, the complete Broadway production on both cassette and CD, piano and clarinet sheet music, the recently published book Les Miserables –  From Stage to Screen and of course Victor Hugo’s novel.

When it was announced that, at long last, the production was going to be made into a movie, I had my doubts. When I heard who they had cast for the major characters, I was skeptical to say the least. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be a gross understatement.

When the movie premiered on Christmas day, I woke up at 6am to drive to Century City in Los Angeles to see the movie in IMAX. The theater was sold out. The audience applauded the performances as enthusiastically as if they were in a live theater.  I’ve seen the movie four additional times. Once with my husband, who actually sobbed at the finale, once with my daughters and twice by myself. And each time, went through an entire box of tissues.

Yet I know the movie will not win the Oscar for best picture. Up against the more popular and contemporary war movies Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and even Lincoln, Les Miserables doesn’t stand a chance, but it doesn’t matter.

Because of this film, I could feed my “addiction” 5 times for less than the price of one theater ticket. Because of this film, I only needed to drive 10 minutes to the closest movie theater instead of having to drive more than an hour to a theater. Because of this film, thousands of fans, new ones and ones yet to be born will have the opportunity to experience this incredible story written more than 150 years ago.

Long after this year’s Oscar winner fades from memory, Les Miserables will continue to inspire, enthrall and gain new fans for generations to come.

And that is why winning tonight won’t matter.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it did?

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