Alzheimer’s disease is an unlikely topic for Oscar buzz, but it nevertheless dominated red-carpet chatter this year, as Julianne Moore was an early favorite to win the Best Actress award for Still Alice.
Alice is a devastatingly affecting film about a woman diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Moore was universally praised for her unshakeable performance as a brave soul facing a terrifying prognosis.
New research shows that dementia is the #1 fear in the world today. It’s no wonder that Moore’s performance resonated. Sure enough, she took home the gold. And when she accepted the award, she seized the opportunity to remind the world of just how real the disease is.
As CNN reports, Alice is an effective tool in raising awareness about the disease, which could help to spur new efforts in prevention and treatment. There’s currently no cure.
But CNN points out that the film is equally important for shining the spotlight on courageous caregivers. Unpaid family members provide the overwhelming majority of long-term care for dementia patients in the United States. In the awards race, as in real life, they go unsung.
Fortunately, the Academy Award will drive a far larger number of people to watch the movie, giving dementia greater consideration along the way. That’s a good thing. Films like these are essential for keeping the conversation on dementia alive. Kudos to the Academy for recognizing that.