Alright, so something a little different today.
I was thinking about reviewing either The Big Short (2015) or Spotlight (2015) – both of which are nominees – for this week’s Film Friday, but I decided, you know what, can’t do both of them, so let’s do all of them.
Here’s a little lowdown on the 88th Academy Awards, and the OSCARS in general.
Now, I can already hear all the hipster, self-righteous trolls saying “Dude, the OSCARS don’t even matter, it’s just the same thing every year, they don’t always get it right.” You know what? Go back to sipping your chai lattes from your Mason Jars if you’re gonna be like that. Come on, go do it. Now.
Are they gone? OK, good.
Sorry to say this, but the OSCARS do matter. Like, a lot. If a man wins the Best Actor OSCAR, then his pay goes up roughly $3.9 million per movie! That’s why it matters! Meanwhile, if a woman wins Best Actress, she’ll see her pay go up roughly $500,000 per movie. (Huh, I wonder how that’ll go down in the whole gender pay gap debate, but I digress).
So just because you want to sound smart by acting like you’re more ‘cultured’ than the OSCAR voters, doesn’t mean you can discredit them. The OSCARS are huge in Hollywood. So huge, in fact, entire movies are made to win OSCARS.
What does that mean? Well, in Hollywood, when a producer (probably a white dude) is pitching an idea to other producers, he’ll sometimes say “It’ll be OSCAR gold”. Studios acknowledge the prestige that surrounds the awards, and viciously compete with each other to win them.
Yes, a creative industry makes art to win awards. HuffPost owners must be drooling right now.
The first OSCAR ceremony was held in 1929. This award show is also the shortest OSCAR ceremony ever, only being around 15 minutes long. The winners were even told they won beforehand, and it wasn’t even televised. Except, that wasn’t really the first OSCARS ceremony, as the award show wasn’t even called the OSCARS at the time.
In fact, the award show, while owning the domain name oscar.go.com, isn’t technically called the OSCARS. The official name is ‘the Academy Awards’, named after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). Nobody actually knows for sure why it has the nickname of the ‘OSCARS’, but popular belief is that one of the winners of Best Actress way back in the day remarked that the award statuette resembled her uncle Oscar. This is believed to have happened back before the show was televised, and thus, we have no proof, as by the time of the show being televised, it was already known as the OSCARS.
The OSCARS have gotten a lot of controversy lately, due to an apparent lack of diversity. For the second time in two years, not a single non-white person was nominated in any of the acting categories. Many (racist) people chalked it up to minorities not doing enough good movies last year.
The real problem with diversity in the OSCARS is diversity in the Academy. The Academy is the nickname for AMPAS, which collectively votes for who is nominated and who wins the sweet, sweet statue. So, what’s wrong with the Academy?
The Academy is 94% white, 77% male, and has an average age of 64. On top of that, the majority of them (22%, not technically a majority, but the biggest group) are actors. This is more problematic than it sounds.
Imagine you are, for a moment, an old white dude (some of the teachers won’t have to work hard to do this). You are a voting member of the Academy. You see a young, handsome, talented actor. You’re afraid that if he wins an OSCAR, he’ll steal your job faster than one of Trump’s immigrants. So, you won’t vote for him when the time comes.
Similarly, you also see a young, pretty, talented actress. You definitely want to see more of her. So you vote for her, hoping she’ll one day have a meltdown, lose all semblance of a career, but manage to scrape it back by acting in an erotic French art film.
This is why not only is there a lack of diversity, but why the average age of a Best Actor winner is 44, but only 35 for a woman.
The upcoming award ceremony, happening on Sunday night (Monday morning here due to time zones) will showcase, to quote Neil Patrick Harris, “show business’ best and whitest- sorry! Brightest!”. The current nominees for Best Picture include: The Revenant, Spotlight, The Big Short, Room, Mad Max: Fury Road, Bridge of Spies, The Martian and Brooklyn.
In the opinion of the writers, who should win?
Finn Boyle: The Big Short
Joe Cook: Spotlight
Gabriel Bailey: Spotlight or The Big Short
Catherine Lally: Spotlight
And according to the writers, what were the biggest snubs?
Finn Boyle: DOPE
Catherine Lally: Carol and Black Mass
Gabriel Bailey: Beasts of No Nation
Joe Cook: Dope, 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets
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