I don’t care about the Academy awards. It feels like its lost its meaning and power. I’m sure within the film community it still holds a huge amount of power but outside of that, I think its beginning to lose its appeal. It’s because it feels very predictable and elitist. You can predict the films that are going to be nominated and the films that win feel even less important because of what it has become.
“Oscar bait” shouldn’t be a phrase that exists but it clearly does for a specific reason, you can tell when a film feels like its been designed to appeal to Oscar voters, or at least was made and marketed with some Oscar thought involved. Its released from October to the end of January and it is usually a heavyweight subject, like a biopic, a historical or a story that requires a huge leading performance.
You can even begin to guess the kinds of actors who will begin to appear in these kinds of films. They are usually Hollywood veterans, having been in a host of films that gets their name recognised and to the standard of “household” and then they appear in the Academy Award movie, Denzel Washington in Training Day, Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood or Forest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland. They are all great performances but feel like they are being recognised more for their contribution than their actual acting ability.
In fact, it was great to see Training Day get an Oscar award of any kind. It is the second issue I have with the Oscars, the films feel too samey and predictable. All of them are powerful dramas, nothing light or “easy” ever makes the grade and I don’t think this is a fair reflection of movies as a whole.
In a year when the biggest film was The Avengers, with Dark Knight Rises coming a close second, to have very little to no recognition of either of these films seems silly. How can you have awards for the best films, performances or even scripts, and not have either of these two in serious contention. Avengers has received a special effects nomination (which it will lose to either Hobbit or Life of Pi) but I think best screenplay would be a suitable nomination. It’s a film that had great dialogue, a clear story and multiple characters and threads leading to a great climax.
The Academy Awards reject the most popular of movies every year. Some don’t deserve recognition in line with how much they made at the box office or their overall popularity but Avengers and Dark Knight Rises made most people’s top ten films of the year – way ahead of The Silver Linings Playbook. It’s great to see Skyfall on the fringes of the “main awards” but even this was one of the best films of the year and still seems overlooked.
I think its time a new awards was introduced. A genuine, serious, respectable look at more mainstream films. It could have exactly the same categories but have to have grossed over a certain amount to be accepted. It means that films that are much more independent and “arty” would have to be put aside for the films that most of the viewing public waited anxiously for and were blown-away by when they finally went to see them.
It also means we could get rid of Lincoln and Argo, as deserving as they may be of a best picture, and put into contention films that a huge host of the cinema-going public would have actually seen. It would be great to actually have Avengers go up against Dark Knight Rises or Prometheus take on Skyfall. Some of the more Academy accepted films would make it in but it would also mean that Joss Whedon could get a Best Director nomination like he deserves, battling it out against Ridley Scott.
I think a Mainstream Film awards would take off in a big way. It would be recognition of actors who aren’t necessarily getting the opportunity, or have the desire, to do what would be considered Oscar worthy. It would mean the general public would have much more an invested interest in who was actually winning these awards, rather than seeing an actor’s name next to an Academy aAward nomination, without feeling any sense or surprise or recognition of real achievement.
Overall, I don’t think that winning an Academy Award isn’t an achievement and I’m sure every nominee in every category has great justification and worth for being there but I just feel detached from the whole process. Its become archaic, out-dated and predictable. The movie industry is moving towards Blockbusters and these are the films that should be recognised in some serious way. I call for The Mainstream Film awards, an awards that rates the best of the years films that won’t necessarily have to be thought-provoking, biographical or historical. How good would it be to see Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, nominated for best Actor against Christian Bale’s Batman?