Why Do They Give Oscars Anyway? Are The Academy Awards Still Relevant?
Even if they change the rules and pressure members to be inclusive, are the Oscars on their way to obsolescence?
“I have never watched any of the Oscar winners, they are weird movies,” a friend of mine declared over merienda a few days ago. Another friend piped in enthusiastically, “Exactly! The movies that win are either weird or dark or both. And there’s so much to watch on Netflix anyway.”
Conversation then shifted to this year’s nominees. “For sure, Glenn Close will win! And she’ll have her second after Fatal Attraction, it’s been so long!” With some diplomacy and a little smile, I corrected her.
“Actually, Glenn Close has never won an Oscar.”
“What? No way! Well, I did watch The Wife on the plane and for sure she’ll win!”
Our hostess then interrupted, “No, it’s Lady Gaga’s now! For sure, it’s in the bag! I cried so much in A Star is Born.” And as much as it pained me, I had to tell her, “Making people cry is not necessarily the key to winning the Oscar.”
Esteemed movie critics are actually unanimous this year that it’s a year without frontrunners. And they also all agree that’s a good thing. While Lady Gaga did seem to be a frontrunner at first, she and Glenn Close are in a classic close race. While Glenn did win the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild, they shared the Critics' Choice award.
Bradley Cooper was supposed to be a shoo-in for Best Director, especially since the Academy doesn't like giving Best Actor trophies to good-looking dashing and debonaire leading men but loves handing out Best Director ones to good-looking, dashing and debonaire men for their debut movies. To wit: Mel Gibson for Braveheart, Warren Beatty for Red, Robert Redford for Ordinary People—get the picture? Sadly, the trend for the Best Actresses winners is that they break up after they win. Julia Roberts broke up Benjamin Bratt, Charlize Theron broke up with Stuart Townsend, and Halle Berry broke up Eric Benet. Maybe it’s true that there is only room for one buff naked man in a house, and if he’s covered in gold, he may arouse some jealousy.
There have been jokes about how female directors never get nominated for Best Director. Though the Academy did come out with a press release that they will make efforts to be more inclusive, this year’s list of nominations proves that they are a long way off. The Academy remains 69 percent male and 84 percent white; is the movie industry changing faster than the Oscars? Isn't the world at large changing faster than the nominations process?
Every year, the ratings for the Academy Awards telecast plummets lower and lower, and even the red carpet coverage gets massive criticism (can you spell MANICAM) and this year’s search for a replacement for a host after the Kevin Hart fiasco was cringe-y at best, downright disgraceful at worst. (Backtrack: Kevin Hart was chosen to host this year’s Oscars but some old homophobic jokes he had cracked resurfaced online and he resigned to spare the Academy from the scandal. And the Academy just decided not to go with a host this year).
#Repost @kevinhart4real with @get_repost ··· For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same...I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time....To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time....I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one. I appreciate the @TheAcademy for the opportunity ....now it’s time to rise to the occasion #Oscars
There used to be an Oscars bump; i.e. movies that won the Oscars would feel the boost at the box office. But with online reviews and the soon-to-be dominance of Netflix, why do we need the Oscars?
Well, for one, it’s already part of cinematic history and every field has its traditions. Getting rid of the Oscars would be like ending the Pulitzers or the Nobel Prize. As humans, we like to seek the higher ground. We want to know that there are people who are good at what they do and we should look up to them. Even when they are a bit out of touch. And admittedly, we would miss the dresses and the speeches.
It’s highly improbable that the Oscars will ever stop being given. But maybe it’s time for some massive recruitment for new members.
Photos from @theacademy