Judging from videos like the one above, entertainment columnists devoting their columns to the voting selections of octogenarians, and Oscar bloggers grabbing at each other's throats, it must be award season again.
Ideally, award shows should be about the celebration of cinema as all moviegoers get a chance to become acquainted with the nominees. For most people, that is the case, but not for Oscar bloggers. War paint is thoroughly applied, for your consideration ads are placed conspicuously and Twitter turns into a battleground.
The problem with the awards season itself is that it doesn't really strive to provoke interesting conversations, Oscar prognosticators act more like loiterers surrounding a fistfight: they spur on the conflict and get their kicks in when one film gets knocked down. In many ways, it's not all that different from The Hunger Games, contestants enter, battle to the death and only one suitor is crowned victor of the proceedings.
The fact that Quvenzhané Wallis (9) and Jennifer Lawrence (22) are being questioned whether they should for win due to their age is another indication that the intense awards focus of winter could use a rest. Performances like theirs should be more important than whether or not Lawrence or Wallis have "paid their dues."
Another actress under attack is contender Anne Hathaway, who has been mocked for actively campaigning for the award. An odd attack given how many Oscar bloggers complained when actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Eddie Murphy and Mo'nique chose not to do talk show interviews and red carpet schmoozing. The most disgraceful occurrence would be Bret Easton Ellis taking to Twitter to suggest that Kathryn Bigelow is only recognized for her attractiveness.
As years pass and Oscar blogging becomes more important than film criticism, the snippy in-fighting will only continue to increase. Winning Best Picture won't be so much a testimony to being the best film as it is having p.r. teams and cohorts attack all your fellow nominees.
The Oscars are not for celebrating the best films—they seldom have been. It's the general consensus of several hundred people on which films released in November and December were the best. If these ceremonies were about celebrating the "best" how could Ben Affleck's Argo win so many awards and then not have him be nominated at the Academy Awards?
The solution to avoiding this mess in the future? Let's simply not get so emotionally invested in who or what wins a shiny trophy. Keep in mind some of the industry titans who never won an Oscar: Peter O'Toole, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock. Their legends seemed to survive never winning a gold plated man.
These awards are supposed to be fun, not an invitation to tear down films in favor of others. Maybe if we tone down the rhetoric and stop treating art in aggressive terms, we can let the season be a highlight rather than an endgame. Until then, I'll gladly watch the Oscars with my blinders on...
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