by Francis Friel, The Projectionist
Fuck the Oscars.
Why are we racing? Why are we constantly poking and prodding each other, tripping each other right as we're crossing the finish line? How did we get to a point where "Oscar-bait" is a recognized sub-genre of Cinema? Why are we trusting a boring-taste-having gang of FOOLS to tell us who lives and who dies?
I want to see the study on how we reconcile that, while we get so caught up in who's nominated, have we seen them all, who do we want to win, the ballot parties, we also all (at least most of us? to some extent, at least?) recognize that time is the true judge. Is anyone still watching American Beauty? And if so, is anyone watching it and saying, yep, this deserved an Oscar? And there are exceptions. The Godfather: Part II, Annie Hall, Birdman. But look at the full list of Best Picture winners and prepare for your life to flash before your eyes.
What criteria are we even using anymore to decide these things? We are so far outside of what the industry was like when this system was set up that we've gotten to the point where the number of nominees is constantly in flux. If you can decide that this year, nine films are up for best picture, but in 2014 there were only eight deserving of being nominated for The Highest Honor, it means it's completely random and no one knows what on earth they're doing. In fact, they're not even trying anymore. The second Crash won, everyone in Hollywood should've stood up, put their wigs on, and walked out. Doors should've been slammed. Fists should've been pounded on tables. Rocks should've been thrown. Hard. It's a disaster. And nothing changes this if your favorite wins. I love Birdman, but was it objectively the best film of that year? Of course not. In fact, in all the commotion over who would win in a fight between the Coens and PT Anderson (the Coens, it turned out), nobody even remembered that Margot at the Wedding was the actual best film of that year. Oh, you disagree? FINE. Good. It's meaningless!
In a universe where the art world is an exclusive and sealed-off separate plane of existence where reality doesn't bother with things like the laws of physics, and the Grammy Awards are basically set up for old people to have another reason to hate young people (despite them straight up being called THE GRAMMYS, for shit's sake), it's so painful that CINEMA is given to All People At All Times (which is good) while being subjected to the most brutal and completely random system of judgment on earth (which is bad). It's a way for producers to line their gross greasy pockets. Because good (and, yes, popular) actors will always get work. Good directors will, too, as long as they make money for the devil-worshippers at the top and/or as long as there are Megan Ellisons around to pick up the slack for them when money gets tight. Crews will always work because you can't make a movie without them.
It's a shell game. We're being had. And the bigger travesty is that the Oscars gave Billy Crystal a reason to climb out of bed once a year and pretend to be funny while millions of other people played along and pretended he was funny. With that legacy alone, we need to shut this thing down.
Having said all that, here's three versions of who should win:
Arrival (the Who Gives A Fuck vote)
La La Land (the We Forget What Good Movies Look Like vote)
Moonlight (the This Is Probably the Best One On The List That Admittedly I Still Haven't Seen But Oof That Trailer, Just Give It To Moonlight vote)