Sunday March 7, 2010 was a momentous time for people in the film industry, as many were recognized for their efforts throughout the night. Yes, it was Academy Awards time. The night began with all of the celebrities being interviewed and asked questions not only about their nominations, but also what she/he was wearing. As my mom described the various fashions, it appeared as though there were some really glamorous dressed celebrities, while others remained on the scale of being interesting.
Setting aside fashion, I was very intrigued with this year’s Academy Awards. There were a couple of films and actors/actresses, who I was rooting for to win. I love listening to movies, as I am a frequent attender to the cinema. However, due to the high visual nature of movies, I often find myself asking someone what is being shown on the screen. With this in mind, there are a lot of blind/visually impaired individuals who find themselves in similar circumstances; when it comes to movie viewing. Therefore, in 1990, WGBH Media Access Group created descriptive services for the blind.
Descriptive services enable blind/visually impaired individuals to be able to have access to the visual elements as sighted people through detailed narrated descriptions (WGBH Media Access Group). In addition to movies, the descriptive services can be found on some televisions and vcrs by going to the second audio program (SAP) option. The SAP option enables some television programs on PBS, CBS, FOX, and Nickelodeon to have detailed narration (WGBH Media Access Group).
You’re probably sitting there wondering what does descriptive videos for the blind/visually impaired have to do with the Oscars, well it’s a good question, and I’m about to tell you. To my surprise, on Sunday, as I was listening to the Oscars, my Mom and I noticed that two of the award categories had the descriptive feature. The award categories were the Original and Adapted screenplay. It was great being able to have the scenes described, because I had the opportunity to view the same elements as sighted individuals.
Sometimes I feel left out during the Golden Globes and Academy Awards when they show visuals. I feel this year, that during the original and adapted screen play, the Academy Awards leveled the playing field for both sighted and blind/visually impaired individuals; giving everyone a chance to enjoy themselves. Although, there were only two categories with descriptive adaptations, I applaud the Academy Awards for reaching out to all of their audiences by providing the descriptive narratives; giving everyone the opportunity to partake in these most prestigious annual shows. Inclusiveness is the key to success.
Hopefully, the Oscars and other shows will adapt to society’s needs and provide descriptive narratives in all award categories as they plan for their next awards show. I am not sure why the Academy Awards picked the original and adapted screenplay categories to use the descriptive feature, but what I am sure about, is that our society is becoming more aware and moving towards progression. If you would like to give feedback to the Oscars, you can visit them at http://www.oscars.com.