Friday, February 20, 2015

A note on the Oscars, and why we don't care

Has anyone seen the Oscar list and gone "Huh" "Who?" and "What?" lately, or is it just me?

The Imitation Game is the second highest box office holder of the current slate of nominees. It's about the World War II experience of Alan Turing ... and is currently ranked 44th out of last year's box office list. The Grand Budapest Hotel, a comedy of sorts, is 55th.

The number one box office holder among the candidates? American Sniper ... which is #3 of the top ten highest grossing movies last year.  And who honestly thinks it has a chance?

What would happen if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists nominated the six highest-grossing films of 2014 for Best Picture?  Seriously?  You know, instead of a dozen movies no one watched?  Yes, I know it's (probably) not a dozen, but it doesn't matter. The Oscar slate was opened up so it would be more inclusive.  Instead we get ... a lot more of the same.  A lot more.

But imagine if the Academy gave a crap about films that people HAVE SEEN?  The highest-grossing films list would make the field  consist of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part One; Guardians of the Galaxy; American Sniper; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; The LEGO Movie, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I haven’t seen anything on that list but The Winter Soldier, but I think most would agree that this is a pretty good list, when you treat each as they were intended to be -- Guardians of the Galaxy (epic space fantasy) or The Lego Movie (funny, fast-paced kids movie with a lot of heart).

But hey, who are we kidding, now?  The Academy hasn't given me a roster I gave a damn about since Return of the King. If it makes money, that means it must be evil, right?  Sigh.

Of late, the Oscars hate space fantasies (Star Wars: A New Hope was nominated for best picture, did you know that?), kids movies, and superhero movies ... And no, Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar award for playing the Joker in The Dark Knight was more about Brokeback Mountain, an awards I'm certain they wanted to give him, but didn't want to be too overt about in rewarding for politics.

And let's say screw box office and the top six. Let's make it the top 20 ... but even that opens it up a bit. How about Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar? Gone Girl? Sound familiar?

Create a Best Picture slate nominees that has Mockingjay, Guardians of the Galaxy, American Sniper, The Lego Movie, Interstellar, Gone Girl, and ... I dunno, pick number six. American Sniper? It's grossing out at around number 3 of last years's top twenty. Casual moviegoers would actually care, and viewership for the Oscars would be through the roof. 

But the Academy can’t nominate a bunch of little-seen, heavy art-house dramas and then wonder why nobody’s watching the Oscar ceremony. Birdman seems the most reasonable of the nominations, since it's basically Michael Keaton making fun of his time as Batman ... but did anyone see it?

Then there's The Grand Budapest Hotel ... which is probably nominated because (like every Grand Hotel film since the beginning) everyone is in the damn film.  But while it looks like a quirky little comedy ... did anyone see it?

Don't even get me started on Boyhood. Just don't.
Of the actual list, people I know tell me they like American Sniper. Good luck with that.

Maybe when Hollyweird is done breaking its arm to pat itself on the back, everyone else will care.


  1. Seen? I'd settle for more movies we've HEARD OF...I mean, you can't miss the buzz about American Sniper, of course, and while Imitation Game is far less-known, it happens to be the sort of movie that appeals to anyone and everyone I do (or plausibly ever could) call a friend. And anyone paying attention has heard lots of talking about Selma of course.

    But the others? Literally _never heard word one about them_ until now.

  2. Didn't you know that the Academy Awards is about educating the despised masses? "American Sniper" is only there to pique interest. Sigh.

  3. The only reason Return of the King won was because they couldn't ignore it anymore. Nobody remembers A Beautiful Mind or Chicago, but everyone remembers the first two LOTR films that were shut out of winning.

    Otherwise the Oscars are about telling you what is good. Not rewarding what people like.

  4. I watched the end of the Oscars (the beginning conflicted with The Walking Dead) and I was saddened to see that there was not ONE nominee for best picture that I had any interest in watching. (I don't get to see movies until they are on TV.) Personally I think that they need to wake up and realize that the great movies of the past were movies that the common man went to see--- on purpose. Not elitist political stuff that no one watches until it wins an Oscar.


Please, by all means, leave a message below. I welcome any and all comments. However, language that could not make it to network television will result in your comment being deleted. I don';t like saying it, but prior events have shown me that I need to. Thanks.