The Oscars 2021 had one of the lowest turnouts in history. Rife with so many issues and people stopping to believe in the Academy’s credibility, is it time for some much needed change in the Oscars?
Mired With Controversies
Boy where do we begin!! There are so many controversies surrounding the Oscars we wouldn’t dare start counting. Starting with issues like too little gender-wise representation in the academy to so little women actors and film-makers winning awards in the pedestal, the Oscars is tainted very badly. People of color raised their concerns when they brought to lite the #OscarsSoWhite issue. The Academy responded by creating a diversity requirement. But this does not even solve the issues regarding discrimination by even the smallest of margins. In fact, it actually highlights the issues even more, The Oscars has and always been a White man’s club. That will probably never change.
For An International Award, It Is Hardly ‘International’ So To Speak
The Oscars award the Best Picture to any movie that astounds us enough to stand and applause. Regardless of the language and the point of origin of the movie, any movie is eligible for the best picture award. But that was not until Parasite won the award last year. The Oscars represent global film-making. So why do they have two different categories for Best Picture (Made in USA and in English) and Best International Feature Film? Doesn’t it mean we are wrongfully segregating movies based on the language and origin? Another Round was a way better movie than Nomadland. It was unfair and uncalled for the latter not be even considered for the Best Picture.
Movies Are Chosen Based On Subject Matter Alone Nowadays
Movies are no longer made to further experimental film-making. They are not made for fiction. Ideas and dreams have been flushed down the toilet. Now movies are based on subject matter. People watch the movies for the stars and the message it gives. The Imitation Game was a massive success. But people flocked to the theaters to see Benedict Cumberbatch, not Alan Turing. The Danish Girl used transgender icon Lilli Elbe as a marketing tool. Steve Jobs literally used the name and fame of Steve Jobs to advertise itself. Movies now use established stories to draw audiences. The Oscars no longer encourages Directors to come up with something unique.
Directors Tailor-Make Movies Designed To Win Awards
Now we come to the issue of Oscar-Bait. We will say something very, very controversial here. The Oscars tends to favor actors that play disabled, fat, ugly, gay, or physically different characters. take the example of Eddie Redmayne. No doubt he is a wonderful actor. But most of his greatest works have been commercial failures. In The Theory Of Everything, he played Stephen Hawking. In the Danish Girl, he played Lilli Elbe. That alone speaks volumes on a certain bias that exists in Hollywood. Filmmakers tend to make movies designed to win awards nowadays. They aren’t here to appease the masses and make them think, which is basically the whole freaking point of cinema. The Oscars propagate a practice of influencing Directors to solely win awards for the heck of it.
Literally Nobody Cares About Biopics Anymore (So Stop Making Them!!)
In the year 2016 and the years the followed, many Biopics have gotten some surge of relevance in Oscar nominations. in the year 2016 alone, four out of the five movies nominated for the Oscars were biopics based on real life people. The Academy never ceases to amaze us. It continues to make movies on people whose stories are freaking public knowledge and widely known. We know about Steve Jobs. A fair dinkum amount of people already knew who Lilli Elbe was. 2021 saw many biopics and fact based dramas take to the pedestal. Judas And the Black messiah, Mank, and One Night In Miami tell stories the world already knows. Bring us something knew for crying out loud!!
The Academy’s Criteria For Selecting A Winner Is Extremely Cryptic & Vague
The Academy has around 7000 members. They base their votes on majority basis. The 7000 members are divided into 17 branches. And for a certain nomination in any category, only a certain faction of branches could vote. So not all 17 branches could vote for, say, Best Animated Feature. But here’s the catch. The Academy claims its votes are totally unbiased, not influenced by outside factors. And the math they present is extremely complicated, changing from one category to another. The Academy presents unreasonably complicated algorithms for category wise selection in the name of transparency.
If The Movie’s A Blockbuster, It Can’t Win best Picture For Some Weird Reason
The Oscars and the Academy tend to favor movies they consider to be ‘artistic’. Their idea of art is something that is visually appealing, mentally engaging, and fresh. But here’s the catch – the Oscars seldom favor movies that are made to be blockbusters. Very less often you see a movie like Mad Max: Fury Road or The Dark Knight get nominated for the Best Picture category. both movies are loved by fans all across the world and were the most well-reviewed movies of their respective years of release.
Why Should The Academy Decide The Best Picture While The General Audience Has No Say In It?
In a democracy, everyone gets to vote. In the Oscars, it is but a mere illusion of a democracy. You may submit as many nominations as you like but the Academy gets to choose who wins and who loses. Like we said, the Academy is a 7000 strong membership. Are movies made for their eyes only? Movies are made for the masses, the common folk, US. We should have the final word in deciding. Why don’t the moviegoer get a vote? Why are we sidelined all the time and made to watch things unfold from a distance behind closed doors.
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Massive Barriers To Entry
Up until a while ago, Directors like James Cameron and Ridley Scott had single-handedly launched a successful campaign against streaming services. They led the Academy to believe Netflix Originals and Amazon Originals do not qualify for the Best Picture category. And the funny thing is – the Academy believed them. For a long time, Netflix actually had to parallelly release many of its acclaimed movies on theaters so that they could qualify for Best Picture. That is just one of many examples on the invisible but powerful barriers of entry guarding the most prestigious award in the film industry.
It Has Propagated An Elitist Culture For Far Too Long
Last but not the least, the Academy has done all it can to make itself known as a larger than life figure. Members of the Academy are treated like royalty. Take the example of Kirsten Dunst. The moment she became a member, news sites and online magazines started gushing over her, releasing article after article on her views. Why should we care about what one woman thinks when it comes to an industry that is worth more than $136 Billion USD? Why has the Academy perpetuated a belief that they belong to some elite club only a chosen few have access to? and to top it off, why do they get to present an award on the entire world’s behalf? The Academy and the Oscars are extremely classist in nature. It has been the same since almost a century.