First World Problems: Oscar Snubs and Why We Care

Posted: January 24, 2012 in First World Problems, Movies
Tags: , , ,

Pop quiz, hot shots! What do the following movies have in common: Gandhi, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, Crash? They all won the Academy Award for Best Picture. What do these movies have in common: ET The Extra-Terrestrial, Babe, Fargo, LA Confidential, Brokeback Mountain? They’re the movies I wish had won.

The Oscar nominations were announced today and followed shortly thereafter by the usual round of pundit hemming and hawing about surprise nods and shocking omissions. It happens every year. The Twitters blew up with people complaining about this and that not getting recognized or conversely expressing shock that something truly terrible like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close could somehow snag a Best Picture nom. Some stars actually publicly groused, perhaps jokingly but still publicly, that they were not included in the annual Hollywood reach-around (kudos to Misters Patton Oswalt and Albert Brooks.)

Now before you accuse me of being a hypocrite, I will admit that I was right there on my Twitter feed complaining for them and my favorite movie of the year, Drive, which received 1 nomination, the exact same number as Real Steel. I got no problem with Real Steel but Drive was the best movie of the year and at least deserved nominations for Picture, Director and Supporting Actor for the aforementioned Mr. Brooks. Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

That’s why I love the Academy Awards. EVERYONE is allowed an opinion and that opinion is usually informed by the content they consumed over the course of that previous year but unless you’re a member of the Academy, that opinion don’t count. I would venture to guess that I’m in the top 5% of people in regards to how many movies, theatrically or otherwise, I watch in a given year. I watch a ton of stuff. Though I may, to date, not have seen them all (or even want to,) I’m familiar with every single movie nominated for best picture and have strong opinions as to their suitability for inclusion in the category.

There’s an even smaller percentage of people (the professional bloggers, reviewers who get paid) who see even more movies who are even more informed and can start listing off an army of flicks and performances more qualified to stand in the place of the unworthy chosen. They’re the ones that will tell you The Independent Spirit Awards are where quality films are recognized, stuff like 50/50, Take Shelter, Martha Marcy May Marlene & We Need To Talk About Kevin. In fact, I believe Drive was nominated for several Spirit Awards. So that’s cool, I guess.

What of the majority of people, the 95% if you will? Well, I’d venture to guess that only a small percentage of them even bothered to look at the list of Best Picture nominations. And upon seeing them, they probably said a variation of the same thing that is said every year, “Hell, I ain’t seen any of them movies. Wait a minute. Moneyball? Is that the baseball one with Brad Pitt? I got that at the Redbox. That was pretty good. Hell, I hope that wins.”

Let’s be honest. The only people who truly care about the Oscar nominations are the studios who stand to make money off them, the stars whose egos are boosted by them, and nerds like me who will never get over the fact that Chariots of Fire beat out Raiders of the Lost Ark.

File:Melty-toht.gif

Yes Major Toht, that pretty much sums up my reaction as well.

For what its worth, I would like to offer up some congratulations to Gary Oldman, nominated for Best Actor for his superb work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He’s the best working actor of his generation. Congratulations also to Nick Nolte, justifiably recognized for his supporting work in Warrior (one of last year’s most criminally underrated movies,) and to Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, the directors of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, nominated for Best Documentary. I hope they all win. Do I think they will? Probably not. But that’s for another blog.

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