Sunday, February 24, 2019

Image = Oscars So What?!

The Academy Awards used to be THE event of the year – for both Hollywood and the filmgoing public, but the Oscars are now in a very bad way. Recently I have seen many people on social media say that awards are bullshit and it makes me sad. The Oscars are a 90-year tradition honoring greatness in filmmaking and they need to regain their former glory. The ratings for the broadcast have dipped dramatically in the past few years, and the Academy keeps trying to reinvent the wheel, to no avail. It is one thing to adapt to a changing culture, as in integrating more diversity in the nominees, but there is also something to be said for maintaining an institution.

I was upset when the Oscar ceremony moved from Monday to Sunday evening and increased the number of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 8-10. After a while I acclimated to the changes and they became the new normal. However, what has gone on in the past year is insane. Proposing a “Most Popular Movie” category, showing Cinematography, Editing & Costume Design during the commercials – and now going host-less. Fortunately, the Academy reversed their decisions on the first two changes and we have yet to see how the third will go. Hosting the Oscars used to be a great honor and now no one will touch it with a 10-foot pole. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Inspired by Bill Maher, I would like to implement New Rules:

Stop misrepresenting nominees. 

Mahershala Ali is NOT a supporting actor in Green Book and he has been winning awards all season as such. This is unfair. Green Book is essentially a buddy movie and Viggo Mortenson and Ali are co-stars. Positioning Ali as Supporting Actor is a sly tactic to give both actors a chance to win. I’m a proponent of spreading the love and Mahershala is hogging all the acclaim this year. It makes me mad that young & hot Ali is probably going to win a 2nd Supporting Oscar tonight when the award could have gone to Richard E. Grant, who has waited decades just for the opportunity to be nominated.

Side note – the same thing happened with Alicia Vikander in 2015 with The Danish Girl. She was in every scene in that movie and won for Supporting Actress.

Stop giving (great) people owed awards for lesser performances. 

I have been saying for years that it is criminal that Glenn Close does not have an Oscar yet. However, I truly hope that she doesn’t win this year because she is owed by the Academy. The Wife is a terrible movie and Glenn has been so much better over the years. I have a feeling that they are going to bestow her this year though, which is frustrating because I believe it is Lady Gaga’s year.

Stop nominating foreign films in the Best Picture category.  

There are many film awards around the world, but The Oscars is all we’ve got. Adding foreign films & directors into the mix is a slap in the face for fantastic American films & directors. I am completely perplexed by all the acclaim for Roma this year. I don’t think I have ever hated a highly praised movie as much as I hate Roma. To me, the film is tedious and futile. My opinion aside, it makes absolutely no sense for this film to be in contention for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Film. Which makes me wonder, did Netflix buy all of these nominations, a la Weinstein?

Stop nominating movies just because they made a lot of money.  

Bohemian Rhapsody is not a worthy contender for Best Picture; I believe it was nominated because it grossed a ton of money worldwide. Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is one for the ages, but aside from the re-creation of Queen at Live-Aid, Bohemian Rhapsody is a simple biopic. Whereas If Beale Street Could Talk is a gorgeous film and was basically ignored.

One more thing, Academy – How can you justify only 5 Director Noms?  

With 8-10 Movies and 5 Director noms, someone is going to get snubbed. And again, why are Cuaron & Pawlikowski in contention here? It is a disgrace that Peter Farrelly Bradley Cooper and Barry Jenkins are not nominated. The Favourite is technically a foreign film as well, so Lanthimos shouldn’t be eligible either.

Winning an Oscar indelibly changes the lives of its recipients and it needs to be respected as such. Academy – please remember this in the future when considering making changes and honoring the best of American cinema. This year is such a cornucopia of contradictions in nominations that predicting who will win is impossible, but here is who & what I believe to be the best of the year.

My picks for the Best of the Best of 2018:

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, Rami Malek, Regina King, Richard E. Grant, First Reformed (Original Screenplay), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Adapted Screenplay)

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