Sorry sports fans, but Super Bowl takes second place to the importance of film

The biggest and most-watched event in the world will take place this month. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not the mindless void that is the Super Bowl. Instead, the prestigious honor goes to the Academy Awards. Now that all the Super Bowl hoopla has passed, I feel it’s my duty to set a few things straight.

In an article in Friday’s Oracle, Sports Editor Mike Camunas boldly stated that “three billion people across the world watch the Super Bowl.”

Sorry, Mike, but that number is greatly exaggerated, with last year’s telecast only reaching a world wide audience of 971 million viewers. While hyping Super Bowl XXXIX, even the official Web site stated the audience has “a potential worldwide audience of one billion viewers.”

The site goes on to further claim that the game is the nation’s most-watched televised event. The Super Bowl stomps the Academy Awards in U.S. viewership, with the big game reaching an estimated audience of 130 million.

A reason for this error can be solely attributed to the ignorant mindset that leads many football fans to believe that somehow the international community would follow the American obsession with the sport.

The movie industry is stronger and has a broader appeal than any football game could ever hope to have. An example of this is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which grossed $377 million at the domestic box office, but managed to nearly double that figure overseas.

Unlike sports, such as soccer and football, which have their own regional niche, American films can perform well across the globe, even in non-English speaking countries such as France, Japan and Germany.

Great films evoke emotions that transcend language barriers and speak directly to each individual through a mere glare or a single tear.

How many people outside of the United States can identify with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Not many. An action-adventure film, such as Spider-Man 2, can motivate people from different countries to journey to the movies just to see the web-slinger’s new dilemma.

That’s the key. Movies, unlike sports, can unify people from completely opposite lifestyles. A woman in India can shed the same tear that an American woman does while watching The Notebook. The fact that American films perform extremely well overseas only helps to heighten the appeal the Academy Awards has.

What better way to spend a night in front of the television set? The same competitive element is there. Will Million Dollar Baby outfox The Aviator? How will the Hilary Swank vs. Annette Bening rematch unfold, come Feb. 27? But, what gives this award the edge is the emotional connection a film can have and how 90 minutes can make you care for a particular character.

As for Mr. Camunas, maybe next time he won’t rush into conclusions based on his own personal interests.

Contact Pablo Saldanaat