Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


Oscar Complaints

Posted on January 21, 2015 at 5:35 AM



Another Oscar nomination flurry came out last week and with it another barrage of complaining about stuff on the internet. I mean, that’s kind of what the internet is for, isn’t it? Cat videos and complaints. Yep, that about sums it up.

I’ve been writing online for a while now. I don’t do it with any real purpose, just something to do I suppose, but I soon realized that not a lot has changed over the past five years or so. Specifically, as I focus on movies primarily, it’s the repeated cycle of complaining and overall “holier-than-thou” attitude when it comes to awards shows.

Yeah, awards shows. The Oscars specifically.

So we have the nominations come out, people complain, a few weeks pass and the show happens, then people complain about that then. It’s hot and heavy for a few days, like some fling you had in Mexico over Spring Break, then you know what happens?

Nothing. Nothing happens. It all dies down and you move on with your life.

It’s an interesting cycle that happens every year. People give a lot of power to awards for whatever reason and, when something they like or don’t like is or isn’t nominated, to Twitter and Facebook they go. Hell or high-water, they’re going to express their anger and bemoan how something deserves something and we should all feel good/bad about that something not getting something.

or something...

People love to express their rage online, and it all kind of gets lost in the noise of the rest of the internet when it not only comes to yet another Awards snub, but also when there's something legitimately worth discussing rather than just being angry about.

Now are there points to be discussed when it comes to the lack of diversity on Oscar nominations? Sure, but that’s because there’s something to be discussed when it comes to lack of diversity in Hollywood as a whole and the Oscar nominations are simply reflections of that larger issue. Issues like that should be focused on. In this case, a larger picture came as Selma, nominated for Best Picture, didn’t have its director or its enigmatic leading man nominated with it. It’s a crux of the system (nominated 8 movies but only 5 directors is still odd considering the nature of the business) but it’s also a reflection of the lack of diversity of the Academy members (older, white males).

Is there something to be discussed when a director or movie or actor isn’t nominated though? No. There never is. The issues in the case of Selma was a larger one, not so much about the movie but about the diversity element, but simply not being nominated really isn’t an issue on a film by film basis. You liked Selma and thought it should be nominated for Best Director. It wasn’t. You move on. You liked Selma and feel its director was slighted because of lack of diversity in the system? Now that’s something to talk about.

But even then, while the larger context of the Academy is to be considered, it all still comes down to “I liked this movie, it wasn’t nominated for stuff I think it should have been and now I have to point that out on social media.” The reason is because it’s all a knee-jerk reaction to things like this. “The Lego Movie didn’t get nominated!” was a popular outcry as well. Or “Why wasn’t Jennifer Aniston nominated!?” another.

And I say to that: it doesn’t matter. It matters for those few days of nominations and the night of the show, but it really doesn’t matter because in the grand scheme and timeline of great movies, nobody really remembers or cares who was nominated or who won or why something was snubbed or given too high a praise. A great movie is a great movie. A great performance a great performance. You don’t need an award to showcase that: some metallic (often phallous-shaped) thing to give something some validity. It’s just a pat-on-the-back/self gradulatory thing that a rather narrow demographic of people actually vote on.

Selma's lack of inclusion as just another film nominated or not nominated isn't worth getting upset over, but the reflection of the film industry as a narrow-minded, somewhat archaic and rather non-inclusive business is something to discuss - we didn't need Selma's snubbing for that.

The ones that do make the call is society as a whole. It’s not who voted for Best Picture, but what a society and culture looks at as valid over the course of time. It’s why more people still talk about Brokeback Mountain over Crash, or Fargo over The English Patient. People don’t remember Joel Grey all that much in Cabaret, they more remember Pacino in The Godfather who lost to him. It’s a time thing, not a knee-jerk thing, and getting all up-in-arms over something that really doesn’t matter in the long run seems like a waste of time to me.

More importantly, though, is that i look at awards shows less as a “who is better” but more just a celebration. It is a discussion about what the industry is, but also what it is not. It’s a reflection on where it has been, but where it is going while enjoying a whole lot of really good movies, actors, writers, directors and everyone else that makes movies happen.

In other words, it’s simultaneously an important event but also not all that important. It’s important to have a discussion on it, but not about who is better than whom and all that because, as mentioned, that’s something society as a whole determines, not a group of people voting during a month out of the year. A lot of people bring up “Crash won over Brokeback Mountain” or “Shakespeare in Love won over Saving Private Ryan.” I say…so what? Those other movies are still good and winning some award or not winning doesn’t add or detract from that fact. You can say “I liked this over that” but a) you have to show the movie that won is somehow undeserving (good luck) and b) you have to show the movie that didn’t win as better in the realm of critical subjectivity that won’t change the minds of anyone anywhere.

Instead, all that’s left are the complaints. Nothing is really altered or changed. The Kings Speech is still a good movie whether you think it should have won or not, and so is The Social Network which lost to it. Enjoy both…because really if you love film you probably care less about who won what and more about what movies you just like. And if you didn’t like it, just move on. Find something you do like. There’s plenty to go around.

What won a statue really isn't relevant when talking about great films. It's just not. Go to any film class and they don't list what won or didn't win an award, they simply discuss great movies. More great movies have never won an award than actually did.

I suppose I’m just very relaxed about the whole thing - at least when it comes to simply movies as I’ve noted on this little site how broken stuff like the MPAA and Academy system is…but also why none of that stuff matter because we can all just love and appreciate things with those things removed entirely; a footnote to our own societal acceptance of what is great. People love to go online and release their anger and frustrations and whatever is available that day is going to be the target. Whether it’s some Justin Bieber photoshop or Selma’s director not getting nominated, it’s always going to be something. Then it’ll all pass and things will get filtered out that really aren’t that important and we can actually discuss what’s important and the “why” and then after the actual Oscars we’ll forget about the whole thing while not really achieving any conclusion at all.

Then we’ll just enjoy good movies. Whether they won, and let’s face it most Best Picture winners, even if you have a problem with them winning over something else you liked, I usually still damn good movies, as are anyone who wins. But you won’t remember any of that unless its splattered on a Blu-Ray cover so they can sell you on it. In time, nobody is going to be able to sell you anything on it. It’ll be written: is this movie good? Is it worth your time to see? You can google and figure that out, not whether it won an award or not because most of the time you won’t even care if it did. I know I don’t. I don’t care if 2001 A Space Odyssey lost the Oscar for special effects to Planet of the Apes either…both are pretty awesome flicks.

Why do people latch on to things like awards? Hell I don’t know, probably because we love to be validated on stuff and if something we like is validated by something we give power to then we feel better about ourselves. I understand the industry does it to self-congradulate itself, but us “normals?” Is it the celebrity culture as well and we get behind people we are vicariously enjoying success of? Is it just a popularity contest and we don’t like something we like or someone we like not getting acknowledged by some other group of people that we have nothing to do with? Do we as a culture just like to complain in general, as I mentioned, and that’s overtaken the idea of simply enjoying stuff and, instead, wanting to break stuff down and kick it around to make us feel better about ourselves?

Sheesh…got a little deep there. At the end of the day, I guess I don’t know why people put some much weight into something like that. Enjoy your movies, don’t enjoy them, let things pass and it all doesn’t matter until the cycle starts up again next year and we go down the exact same path…then I make a blog being confused on it…then I forget I made the blog and we all do this again.

See you in Jan 2016, I guess. Might as well copy and paste this whole blog, change out “Selma” and “Lego Movie” for whatever people are bitching about then and we’ll have the exact same situation. Do yourself a favor and just enjoy movies, you’ll be happier for it.

You know...Mr. McConaughy kind of knows what's up. #JKL

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