Sunday, February 13, 2005

The futility of the Oscars

I mean, why should anybody care anymore about the Oscars?
1. The Oscars are essentially an event where 5 or so American studios pick which of their products they like best that year. It's essentially the same thing as an "IBM Prize for best new IBM product". Certainly, that would be interesting to employees of IBM, but why would non-IBM employees care?
2. If they're not going to consider all movies from everywhere, why would I be interested? It's like an invitation to "The Track and Field Meet for people from our block whom we like". That might be amusing, but it doesn't get us anywhere to determining what the best movie of the year is (or even what a good movie of that year was).
3. Incredibly bad track record: Taking the last 15 years, many of the Best Picture winners were either outright bad or mediocre (Titanic, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Forrest Gump, Dances with Wolves, Shakespeare in Love). One of the movies was absurd and objectionable garbage(Braveheart). Only American Beauty and Unforgiven were great films, and I still don't think they were the best of those particular years. And the track record before then isn't much better. This is a process that selected the trash Titanic, when Cannes picked the masterpiece Taste of Cherry.
4. The other main festivals have simply done a much better job. In 1997, Cannes picked Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry, Venice picked Kitano's Fireworks, both of which incomparably better than Titanic. In 2000, Cannes picked Trier's Dancer in the Dark, which is interesting even though it's not a favorite of mine, Venice picked Panahi's The Circle.....the Oscars selected failed Spartacus-wannabe Gladiator. So, what's the point?

The Oscars are an isolationist, increasingly anachronistic (as fewer and fewer movies emerge from major Hollywood studios, the event is losing any representation it may once have had to the actual complete cinema-world), a display of bad taste and foolishness.

Frankly, it's a waste of your time to try and see movies just because they've been nominated........the fact of nomination is more a guarantee of dishonest yet "serious" films rather than of any actual quality or inherent interest.


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