Academy Awards 2016: Movies remain a global phenomenon

  • Children watch movies at a traveling digital cinema in Saga Fondo, Niger in 2003.
  • A screening of Stephen Frears “The Queen” at one of England’s oldest cinemas, the ‘Kinema in the Woods’ in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, England in 2006.
  • Men watch a movie in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001.
  • Cinemagoers at a 3D movie in Paris in 1983.
  • Row of movie house billboards in New York City’s Times Square in 1969.
  • A line of people wait for tickets at a movie theater’s boarded-up box office in New York.
  • “The Ten Commandments” is shown at a drive-in movie theater in Salt Lake City in 1958.
  • Projectionists at the Padmam Cinema in Chennai, India in 1997.
  • Teenage boys and girls sitting in a local movie theater in Des Moines, IA in 1945.
  • A child watches a film at the Cinema Alhambra in Marseille, France.
  • A sold-out matinee at Alfred’s Talkies Cinema in Mumbai, India in 2002.
  • An amorous couple, surrounded by other audience members, in a movie theater in New York City.
  • A concessions vendor at work in Pamir Cinema June 2, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul.
  • A patient at a hospital in Bordeaux, France watches a film projected in the geriatric war.
  • A family watching the show at drive-in theater in 1951.
  • A child outside of a movie theater in San Francisco in 2013.



As film fans and the Hollywood community gear up for the highly anticipated annual Academy Awards, there is considerable buzz around the lack of the diversity in the major categories.

For the third time in a decade none of the major acting or directing nominees is an African-American, which is hardly a reflection of the demographics of filmgoers, who are disproportionately black and Latino. The continued lack of diversity among nominees has seen a furious revival of last year’s hashtag #oscarssowhite, which began trending on social media almost immediately after nominations were announced.

Still, despite the shadow of divisiveness looming over the awards, there is no doubt that the Oscars remains a galvanizing global event, which unites movie buffs from all over the world.

The global audience for cinema continues to go grow with each year, with the Hollywood juggernaut facing increasing competition from the likes of China, India and even Nigeria, which has its own booming film scene known as “Nollywood.”

And while more and more of the milennial generation is moving away from traditional forms of media consumption (phones and tablets have become the viewing model of choice for many, supplanting televisions) there is still something uniquely magical about the experience of seeing a film on the big screen with an audience that has yet to be duplicated or surpassed.

As we commemorate American film industry’s most glamorous and prestigious night, we are taking a look at how watching movies really is a universal experience.

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