To many, the Oscars are the highest prestige a member of the film industry can receive. Ranging from actors to cinematographers to visual effects creators, the awards have been designed to be designated to those who most deserve them in their respective category.
Of course this is all theoretical, and while the Academy does often distribute its trophies accordingly, the members of the board have developed several rather disappointing habits that need to be stopped if they are to ever be respected by critics. Here are 7 major ones that have been noticed as of 2014.
7. Awarding One Film Everything
When the Oscars were created, the purpose was to honor a variety of films that had done the best in any respective category. Whether it was in sound editting, sound mixing, best story, etc….you often had many films taking home at least one trophy.
Beginning in the 1950s, however, it appears that the Oscars have been playing favorites, leading to one film often taking home most of the gold. Ben Hur, Gandhi, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; these are just some of the films that have taken nearly all of the technical awards during their release when it was clear that they didn’t deserve every single one of them.
To be fair, this is a trend that the Oscars has shown, in recent years, to be losing given the diverse receivers the golden statues have found themselves in the hands of. Still, it’ll take a few more years to see if these changes continue and last.
6. Having Favorites
It seems like every time they do a movie, there’s these specific groups of actors/actresses/directors that always get nominated, no matter how bad the film is. Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Michael Caine, Steven Spielberg, etc…
I’m not trying to degrade these wonderful filmmakers. All I’m asking is that the Academy not snub out newbies simply for the sake of making room for their favorites. For example, in the 2014 Oscars this year, many are saying that Emma Thompson from Saving Mr. Banks lost her nomination in favor of Meryl Streep in August: Osage County.
The sad thing is, most of the time they don’t even win. It’s ultimately a lose-lose situation, both for the nominees and those that weren’t nominated.
5. Picking British Dramas
Lawrence of Arabia, Oliver!, Gandhi, Shakespeare in Love, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, etc….Look, I love all those films I just listed, but the fact is the Academy, while meant to recognize all films, is distinctly American. As the years have gone by, it seems as though they’ve grown a fondness for British dramas, ranging from biopics to book adaptations.
Many countries have their own respective ceremonies to commemorate their cinematic achievements, such as the BAFTAs for Britain and National Film Awards for India. America has the Oscars, and when you have magnificent films such as Saving Private Ryan and The Social Network losing to slightly inferior counterparts, it does harm the subtle patriotic side the Academy should have.
4. Loving and Hating Comedians
The Academy appears to be bipolar when it comes to comedians. Either you’re not an official comedian (i.e. Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, Mark Wahlberg in The Departed, Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove) or you’re an old one (Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, Bill Murray in Lost in Translation).
However, if you’ve made yourself official, such as members of the brat pack or SNL, you can consider yourself excluded from the Academy unless your comedy manages to survive till you’re past your prime. This applies especially to Jim Carrey in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Oh, but don’t worry; the Academy made sure to recognize Carrey’s supporting cast (Ed Harris and Kate Winslet respectively).
3. Being So Predictable
Remember when Crash won best picture? Or when Denzel Washington took home Best Actor for Training Day? Or when Tommy Lee Jones beat out Ralph Fiennes and Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Supporting Actor? There was a time when the Academy actually had a mind of its own. Now, it appears as though they’re just satisfied with being restricted to the public’s opinion.
Honestly, I seriously believe the Big 5 will be easy to predict simply because it’s so dang easy to know now who they’re going to choose:
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Best Picture: 12 years a Slave
All you need to do is take a look at the Golden Globes beforehand and you’ve got your Oscar template worked out for you….
2. Giving Sympathetic Oscars
The purpose of the Oscars is to honor the greatest performance/direction of that year of filmmaking. In a year of revolutionary performances, I understand that it can be difficult to choose one actor over another, but any kind of awards are a competition.
Unfortunately, one time too many times the Academy will decide that it feels sorry for someone they have repeatedly slugged and opt to give said actor/actress an award even though they don’t necessarily deserve it that year. Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, Martin Scorsese for The Departed, and so forth. It’s something that can get very annoying because it’s so obvious why they’re doing it. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if DiCaprio gets his sympathetic Oscar this year.
1. Ignoring Superhero Films and Science Fiction Films Not Made By James Cameron
Nothing makes me more upset than seeing The Lone Ranger get a Best Visual Effects nomination over Pacific Rim (except maybe Blackfish getting robbed of a nomination for Best Documentary). Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised given that this is a trend the Academy has been doing for a while now.
Now, I don’t mean technical awards when I say that science fiction has been ignored, but acting, directing, and of course best picture. It seems as though, unless it’s by James Cameron, all those categories are immediately shut off.
And don’t even get me started on superhero films. No matter how good it may be, you can bet your favorite comic book based movie will barely get any technical nominations, let alone “The Big 5”. Some people often say that Heath Ledger only won Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight because he died. That’s not true at all; he deserved that 100%. You can bet all your money, however, that he wouldn’t have gotten a nomination were he still alive.
Special Mention – No Awards For Animal Actors.
Animals have been an integral part to many films and, like it or not, they are deserving of acting nominations. The first Oscars didn’t take the time to acknowledge them, thereby setting a trend for future generations of awards categories to follow up.
Author Bio: Red Stewart is big fan of the entertainment industry, with insights into film, television, and video games for starters. Despite growing up in the 21st century’s era of modernization, he prefers many retro era ideas over the current trends found in many of today’s media. Personally he’s an introvert who loves reading as much as gaming.