Why I Don’t Care About the Oscars
February 28, 2017
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We’ve all had that moment. We saw a movie earlier in the year and loved every minute of it. We laughed, cheered, cried, and possibly blamed it on the small particles which always seem to permeate cinemas. Then, in February, we sit down to watch the Oscars, filled with more tension than an acrophobic condor waiting to see if our favorite film won, only to be disappointed when the award goes to a film you’ve never heard of.
For me, it came in 2014 when The Lego Movie, one of my favorite animated films, was snubbed, not even nominated for “Best Animated Feature.” I was, like many fans of the film, somewhat outraged, and I started to despise the Oscars. As time went on, my dislike turned to ambivalence when I asked myself a question: do the Oscars even matter?
One of the reasons I don’t care about the results of the Oscars is because they are highly subjective. The Academy Awards are not decided not by popular vote or consensus among critics, but among votes from approximately 62 hundred members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts of Sciences. The “Academy” have bizarrely specific tastes in film. The vast majority of recent winners and nominees for Best Picture have been dramas, such as Spotlight, Argo, and The Artist. The Academy also tends to enjoy films that are very long, feature extreme method acting, are based on trues stories, and portray Hollywood and acting in a favorable light. It also helps if a film comes out in November or December. Winning an award is less dependent on a movie’s overall quality and more on its ability to conform to the Academy’s tastes. The AMPAS members who vote on the films are also the same people who produce them, allowing personal grudges and petty backstage politics to easily corrupt the voting process.
In the long run, Oscar results are simply irrelevant to a movie’s legacy and cultural impact. How many people remember films like How Green Was My Valley, Annie Hall, Shakespeare in Love, or Chariots of Fire? All of those films one “Best Picture” over Citizen Kane, Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. These films have stood the test of time and continued to be played to this day while their contemporaries faded into pieces of cinematic trivia on various Top 10 lists. This is what truly defines a great film, not an over publicized ceremony and a collection of tacky statues.
The Oscars will have happened by the time this article is published, but I don’t care about the results. I haven’t seen any of the films nominated for Best Picture or Best Animated Feature so there is no way for me to judge. The AMPAS and I may have different tastes in film, but there is nothing wrong with this. I’ll continue to love the movies I enjoy and despise the movies I hate, regardless of what anyone else thinks.