The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced today that at this year’s British Academy Film Awards they will give the “Harry Potter” film series the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema. The franchise has spanned more than a decade and has accomplished amazing feats, so we’re glad that someone is recognizing it (we’re pointing accusing looks at you, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
Author JK Rowling and producer David Heyman will receive the award on behalf of the franchise during the BAFTA ceremony on February 13. In anticipation of the presentation, we’ve decided to outline the reasons why we think the “Harry Potter” series more than deserves this award.
1. It’s maintained the same central cast of character for eight films.
Yes, I know Richard Harris passed away after the second film and so he had to be replaced by Michael Gambon, but we’ll count that as a necessary exception. And yes, I know that feat has sort of been done before like with Japan’s “Tora-san” films, which was a 48-film-long comedy series starring Kiyoshi Atsumi. But the amount of effort that was necessary to make the “Harry Potter” film series have the amount of continuity that it does is definitely unprecedented.
2. The effects work is astounding.
“Harry Potter” has been nominated for seven special effects Oscars, and never won once. Okay, so “Avatar’s” CGI was of course better, and there definitely has been special effects work done, but again, the amount of effort to maintain the continuity of the special effects is amazing. Let’s face it, after watching those films you really wanted to play Quidditch and wizard’s chess.
3. It’s raked in over $6.3 billion worldwide.
Those numbers should speak for themselves. It’s ranking up there with “Star Wars,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “James Bond” as being one of the most successful film franchises of all time, and there’s a reason for it. The “Harry Potter” films are great works of art and we will be looking back 50 years from now just as fondly at them as we do for “Star Wars” and “James Bond,” despite how dated the CGI might seem.
4. The positive economic effects of that have trickled through the British film industry.
It’s taken a lot of people to make the “Potter” films, and that means there have been a lot of people employed over the past decade thanks to it. The fact that Warner Bros. purchased Leavesden Studios after “Deathly Hallows” wrapped guarantees those jobs will still be available today, which is a great boon for the British film industry.
5. It highlights pretty much everything that makes British film great.
Sure, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Tom Felton were unknowns when they were first cast in the “Potter” films, but now they are some of the most beloved young actors in Britain. It should also be noted that Rowling stipulated the cast be made up entirely of Brits, which opened the doorway for some of Britain’s best adult talents to be showcased in the films as well. There’s Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes and Gary Oldman and Kenneth Branagh… the list goes on and on and on.
In addition to adding and popularizing British film, the “Harry Potter” films also celebrate it. And there’s no question that those films deserve to be celebrated in turn.
Do you think “Harry Potter” deserves to be celebrated for its contribution to cinema? Congratulate the cast and crew on their achievement in the comments section and on Twitter!