Monday, February 23, 2009

Top 5 Reasons The Oscars Don't Matter Anymore

So once again, Oscar night has come and gone. The big winner, as expected was Slumdog Millionaire, while Sean Penn pulled the rug out of favorite Mickey Rourke for Best Actor. While arguments abound as to who deserved what, in the end it doesn't really matter, and here's five reasons why.

1. They're Often Wrong

Out of the following, which would you say is the better film: Citizen Kane or How Green Was My Valley? Apocalypse Now or Kramer vs. Kramer? Goodfellas or Dances With Wolves? Raging Bull or Ordinary People? Fargo or The English Patient? Saving Private Ryan or Shakespeare in Love?

If you said the former to any of those, you would be WRONG, at least according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Yes, Citizen Kane, considered by some to be the greatest movie ever made, wasn't even considered the best picture the year it was made. Like most art, it wasn't fully appreciated until long after the artist was dead. Academy voters might have made what seemed like the right decision at the time, but to the annals of history, they'll always be seen as plain wrong.

2. They're Won for the Wrong Reasons

Was Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk really better than Mickey Rourke's broken brawler, or was it an excuse to give him a soapbox? Was The Departed, a remake of Internal Affairs, really a better film than Little Miss Sunshine, or was it simply making up for years of Scorsese snubs? If the results aren't actually skewed by politics, it often seems that way to the public. Combined with other issues, the public is having a hard time trusting the results.

3. They're Snobby

Heath Ledger sadly proved that you pretty much have to die to win an Oscar for a performance in an action movie, no matter how good it is. And how else could Brad Pitt's CGI aging reversal win Best Makeup over the actual makeup used in Hellboy 2 and The Dark Knight?

The fact that The Dark Knight was even considered for so many awards was a miracle in itself. Everyone has noticed that most Oscar-winning movies are tailored made for the awards, released just a few months prior to voting. Can they say with a straight face that the Academy Awards represent the best cinema when films pretty much have to be specially made to win awards? I'm not saying that Iron Man should necessarily have won Best Picture, but when they have crafted such a walled garden, it's hard for the public to take the Oscars seriously. It's no wonder ratings have plummeted so dramatically.

4. They're Secretive

A secret ballot is certainly justified, but secret tallies? Besides the obvious trust issues, it takes all the sport out of it. How much fun would sports be if you just knew the winners, but not the scores or stats? If the Academy really wants to bring people back into the show, then let us know the tallies. Show them during the broadcast. It'll be a whole new era of wasting time at water coolers!

5. They're Incredibly Flawed

And not just in the ways named here. Just like in the electoral college, not every vote is counted. In fact, it's set up in such a way that if everyone cast a vote for say, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Movie, it may not even be nominated. And to make matters worse, the system is so incredibly complicated that most members don't really understand exactly how the system works. The Oscar nomination process makes the butterfly ballot seem clear.


Fret not movie-goer. If your favorite movie or performer was snubbed of Oscar gold, it doesn't mean that s/he/it wasn't deserving. Maybe the voters meant to vote for it, but just didn't quite know how. Or maybe Hollywood just needed to make a point. Or maybe they were just misguided. Or maybe, maybe, the whole thing is just completely broken. In any case, unless you were eligible to win one, Oscar just doesn't matter anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment