The Oscarszzzzzzz

By Tricia Liverpool

The Oscarszzzzzzz

​Congratulations to Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore for their recent best actor wins at Sunday’s Oscars. And well done to Birdman for winning best Picture.

I apologise for the title of this blog but the reason for my zzzzs is the older I get the more the Academy Awards is becoming a “snoozesfest” as time and again they signify they are more about PR and savvy marketing than they are about actually rewarding the best in the business.

Take American Sniper for starters which was nominated for Best Film whilst Bradley Cooper got the nod for Best Actor. The film has a Metacritic rating of 72 whilst Selma which scores 89 was only nominated for best film and its lead David Oyelowo wasn’t even nominated despite the early buzz around his performance.

Let’s not just use this Oscars as an example as in 1974, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson were in their prime, and turned in two of the most iconic performances in the history of American cinema–Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown, Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II.

Unfortunately it would appear your prime isn’t necessarily a good place to be in the eyes of the Academy. No matter what it says on the statue, most Oscars are at least partially lifetime achievement awards that factor in things like how “due” you are. Neither Nicholson or Pacino won as the award was given to Art Carney for playing an old man on a cross country trip with his cat in a movie called Harry and Tonto

You see, skipping Pacino in 1974 meant that come 1992, he was “due.” So 18 years after the initial screw up, the Academy gave Pacino the Oscar for doing a Yosemite Sam impression in Scent of a Woman. This, in turn screwed over Denzel Washington for Malcolm X, who then had to be given a make-up Oscar in 2001 for his role in Training Day which is arguably one of his least impressive movies.

This raises the important question: Who cares? Why should we feel sorry for Al Pacino? The problem is that as little as they should matter, the actors, writers and directors who make our movies live and die with each Academy decision. It’s why Pacino has shouted every line of dialog since 1992 in an inexplicable Cajun accent.

Similarly Pulp Fiction came out the same year as Shawshank Redemption, regarded by many as the greatest film ever made. Pretty good year for movies, yet neither won Best Picture in 2004–that went to Bob Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump. Gump was a pretty enjoyable film at the time but Pulp Fiction changed the way people made movies for an entire decade. Forrest Gump made sure that people remembered that life is indeed like a box of chocolates.

This is a gentle reminder to you, the discerning reader, that if you treat the Oscars as some sort of authority on what makes a film great, you’re doing it wrong.

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