Why the Academy Awards are awful and meaningless
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Attracting millions of viewers, the Academy Awards consistently rank as one of the most anticipated and watched live-TV events every year. Everyone tunes in to find out if that powerful drama wins Best Picture, if the deceased actor gets the award for his unexpected last film, or if Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting skills are finally recognized. Emotional speeches are made, A-list movie stars wear fancy dresses, and we are united by our love of the movies.
The Oscars have never been without controversy. Snubs for both nominations and winners continue to anger fans and creators year after year. Films with particularly dramatic elements released near the end of the year are criticized as “Oscar bait.” In recent years, the nominations have been particularly under fire for their lack of people of colour. All of these complaints (particularly the last, highlighting the diversity problem in media) are perfectly good reasons to disapprove of and/or not watch the annual awards.
But it’s not just that the Academy is biased, the Oscars are boring and pointless. Like with most media art forms, it’s very difficult to determine the “best” of a certain collection. One movie wins Best Picture every year, and fans of the other nominated films will be disappointed—along with fans of all the other movies that didn’t make the cut for some reason. Studio marketing loves to advertise an actor or film as “Academy Award Winning…” but the winners are forgotten almost as quickly as the losers.
In order to be considered for a nomination, a movie must follow strict guidelines, ruling many great works out from the beginning. Bias is a huge issue in the selection process, so it’s very rare for genre films to be nominated. Additionally, Academy membership (those responsible for actually picking the nominees) has been criticized for its lack of diversity amongst members. However, full lists of members remain a closely guarded secret.
On Oscar night, we’ll look at people richer and more famous than us smile or cry over trophies some people thought they deserved (or didn’t). We’ll agree with some decisions, argue that we know better, and probably sit bored for all the category nominations involving films we’ve never heard of. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what film is considered the “best” of the year or which performance wowed the judges the most. Taste—and what film leaves a legacy—is up to the individual viewer.