Opinion: How you should care about and love the Oscars
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 21:02
As an avid critic of all the garbage the film industry can produce, you’d think I’d be a little more cynical about the Academy Awards, which will host their 85th ceremony this Sunday It seems stranger to be as enamored of them as I am, but I am merely swept up by the magic of cinema. (You have to be in order to be as obsessed and critical as myself). The Oscars are a shining beacon of entertainment adoration, and as a lover of it all, I must enjoy an event that is purely about appreciating what is so magical about the movies.
Let’s start then with what we love about the movies, why they bring us all together. To me, movies are a product that can be relished by all regardless of class or race. It’s an art that entertains, delights, questions and excites.
Movies are a reflection of an essential aspect of the way we live, and if you love movies, you must accept how the Oscars affects them, for better or worse. I’d prefer to think it allows for a more critical appreciation of film. Since the Oscars have been around since the late 1920s, when cinema really took off, they are an integral part of the film industry process.
I will briefly acknowledge what is negative about the Oscars. For starters, it creates a whole new genre, if you will, of “Oscar bait.” There are a lot of politics about which types of films get nominated and which don’t, and which types of roles will get actors the award and which won’t.
Furthermore, the comedy, animation and sci-fi genres are the no-man’s land of the film industry, with minimal nominations in the Best Picture category. Only two “comedies” have won in the past 30 years, with quotations included because the films are “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Artist,” which have other factors influencing the win. Only three animated films have been nominated: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Up” and “Toy Story 3.” No science fiction film has garnered the award yet either.
Truly though, I believe the Oscars reward the best and brightest actors, directors, films and screenwriters, even if you don’t agree with the choice. For example, in 2010, I thought “The Social Network” was a better film than “The King’s Speech,” that year’s Best Picture winner, but that did not mean “The King’s Speech” was a bad film. Of all the Best Picture winners, they have most certainly been deserving, even if not the most deserving. Actors and actresses nominated for awards are generally perceived as being the most talented in the industry. To compare, the Grammy award for Album of the Year is perhaps analogous to a Best Picture win. Artists like Taylor Swift earning the award is comparable to “High School Musical” winning Best Picture, in my book.
So maybe the Oscars are not for everyone. Maybe you’re sick of patting people on the back for getting paid millions to do what they love every day. Trust me, I feel you.
Still, I think it’s important to understand what makes something like the Oscars so special. It commends people for the art they create, provides a goal for the industry to aspire to and appeals as an honor to those who have persevered to make their dreams a reality. It fights back against those who say a film is not aesthetic and that a film can’t make you think.
It praises an art form that you don’t have to travel to Broadway to see, or study intensely to understand perfectly.
Movies are just like us: a little imperfect, but there’s something magical and wonderful in all of them.
Movies speak to us in ways we can’t understand, guide us through times we struggle through, help us to laugh, cry and feel things we can’t experience. It’s an education – a glimpse into a realm we couldn’t visit otherwise. Movies are beautiful.
To condemn the Oscars wholeheartedly would be to condemn something I have loved since I watched “Aladdin” for the first time, or since my father first asked me if I could spare some time for “Back to the Future.” Once I discovered the Oscars loved the movies just as much as I do, I had to enter into a committed relationship with them. We can’t all say what is it about movies that draws us or what it is about this art that inspires us so.
The Oscars and I have something in common, and for that, I’ll forgive them for not nominating Ben Affleck for Best Director or letting a couple of comedies earn the big prize.
Both the Academy Awards and I love the movies, and I thank them for saying so.