As a lifelong movie fan, I think it comes etched into my DNA that I would care about the Hollywood awards season, with the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, and so on and so forth. I’ve been watching these awards ceremonies my whole life basically, back before I knew what a director or screenwriter even did, or why they should win in their respective categories each year, and long before I knew what a Cinematographer’s job even was.
This was before I could even see a number of the films that were likely nominated for Best Picture each year and was even less likely to have seen the films that won Best Picture throughout the years. Growing up, they were a bit of a blur, a fun excuse to stay up late on school nights, and see a celebration about the form of entertainment I loved most – movies.
Throughout the years though, as my knowledge and comprehension of the filmmaking world grew, so did my passion about who would win each year and who would lose. In that education and usually unbridled anger (you should have seen me when Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t nominated for Nightcrawler*), I think that myself, and also the film world as a whole lost a bit of the fun and point of these awards shows, instead of seeing them as a celebration, they’ve become something more akin to the Super Bowl.
For example, if you read my review of Alejandro G. Innaritu’s The Revenant this past year, then you’ll know that I actually liked the film a lot. I didn’t love it by any means, but I also didn’t hate it. However, if you had heard any of my conversations about the film over the past few weeks with coworkers and my close circle of movie lover friends, then you would think I saw the movie as the worst thing since Dumb and Dumber To. I’ll admit right up front, part of this is my fault.
This is a prime example of my growing problem with the awards season every year because I did not hate The Revenant, and I actually plan on watching it again sometime soon, just for the opening battle sequence and Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography alone. But I also don’t want it to win this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I had it my way, A24’s Room would sweep practically every category it could, and I would go to bed this Sunday night a satisfied fan.
But I also recognize that there are several people and readers out there that desperately want it to win, and they’re not wrong. To them, it was the best movie of 2015. I may not agree with them, but if somebody loved that movie, even one person or a majority of the Academy itself think Inarritu directed the best film of the year, then does that really make its win wrong? No, it doesn’t, it just means that they saw something underneath its surface that I did not.
Again, this is something I’ve noticed quite a bit over the past few years, and if I thought I were alone, then I probably wouldn’t be writing this, but I’ve seen people I know and fellow colleagues having the same reaction to the awards shows that I have been, so I thought I might say something about it. I haven’t stop caring about the awards season because I actually detest the programs themselves, or even find the concept as a whole wrong in any way, I’ve stopped caring because of the unfair hate and sometimes reputation that they give to films in the cinephile community, that simply don’t deserve it.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t still be Oscar bets being made in friend groups or drinking games being played during the ceremonies themselves because I actually think there should be. They make these things more fun. But I think that the film community as a whole should maybe consider taking a step back and throwing away some of the weight and stock that they put into these awards shows ever year. Stop treating these like they are the end all be all for movies because they’re not, and history has proven that.
The Big Lebowski is perhaps the most beloved Coen Brothers’ film of all time, yet it wasn’t even recognized at the awards shows for its respective year. The Dark Knight was unfairly snubbed in 2008, but looking back on it now, I think we can all agree it’s probably remembered in a much fonder light than Slumdog Millionaire or The Reader. These things are not important, they are fun. They are the end of the year office party we all have, but broadcast on national television with some much more well-known faces than the guy you stand at the water cooler with. But are they really all that more important or noteworthy than those? From now on, I’m gonna do my best to remember that, and think of them less as mandatory viewing, and more as something I’ll watch if I really want to. Maybe that’s just me though.
(*Still not over this.)
The 2016 Academy Awards will air Sunday, February 28th, whether you were planning on watching them or not.
Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.
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