In less than two hours, it is the biggest award show of the season. THE OSCARS. The time when people would get out their wine and snapchat the day of preparing for The Oscars with specialized snacks to looking at what the celebrities are wearing on the red carpet. Maybe we’ll even bring back the mani-cam, cause it’s 2017 and…that is a topic for another day.
I have a confession to make. I’ve never sat down and watched The Oscars. (GASP) I understood and was disgusted last year because of #OscarsSoWhite. I’ve watched clips of speeches that I’ve heard were either inspirational or tear-jerking. I’ve seen the highlights of the monologue, but I’ve never watched the Oscars fully as it was because, I didn’t understand what the big deal was.
Ironic because my entire blog is about issues or topics within Hollywood that people tend to shrug off when I believe it should be considered a big deal. And maybe it’s a deviation from the usual but here I am, confused as to why this golden statue seems to mean the pinnacle of success? I mean I understood it to an extent that this was an award show showcasing movies that have been critically acclaimed but why is it that an Oscar seems to be a bigger deal than the Golden Globe or the SAG award. Is it really just because the Oscars is the oldest award show or is it because the public just have a perception that getting an Oscar matters when in reality, it shouldn’t.
Knowing that this is my first time, I did what any reasonable person would do. I googled it. I learned a brief history of the Oscars, how much an Oscar costs, who votes for the Oscars, and revisited the hot topic of #OscarsSoWhite, and finally, I learned how the Oscars voting system worked. And the strange and confusing voting system is exactly what I am going to be talking about.
VOX explains it best that with the instant runoff voting system, the Oscar for Best Picture won’t go to the one with that may deserve it, rather it may go to the one in the second or third space because it had the broadest support. But a movie is the best because it’s supported the most as a safe movie. A movie is suppose to be a work of art that stirs something in you. “Bold and polarizing” movies that may have been the topic of conversation for months (Moonlight) may not get the award simply because it didn’t play into the safe hands of Hollywood (La La Land).
So if the Oscar’s goal is to give the “highest honors in filmmaking”, why are we not giving it to the movies that have the strongest opinions? Why not give it to the movies that may make people uncomfortable or leave the theater speechless? Now, I’m not saying that every award has been given incorrectly throughout the award’s history, but I can’t help but think when people keep telling me that La La Land will win, about movies like Moonlight or Lion that seem to be better than a musical about Hollywood.
It’s no wonder that people are saying how La La Land is just Hollywood patting itself on it’s back. And yet films like these, that seem to fall short in comparison to movies like Moonlight and Lion, will win because of the strange voting system that denies movies that have a more passionate response (both positive and negative).
So if the voting system doesn’t really mean anything,what are we watching the Oscars for? Are we just watching an exclusive group of people voting for one another to collect as many golden trophies as possible? With this voting system, it’s not the Best Picture award, it’s the award that didn’t piss off too many people and gave the audience a couple of giggles or two. Why does one award matter so much? Why does the Oscar seem to matter more than any other film award besides the fact that it’s the oldest and it’s tradition.
I still don’t know the answers to those questions. I see the merit in awarding movies and people within the film industry. I see that this is a platform in which people can bring up issues. Like when Marlon Brando refused the Oscar and gave Sacheen Littlefeather a chance to speak on Native American rights. Or when Leonardo DiCaprio spoke during his win about climate change and how there needs to be more attention and care given in regards to environmental rights. I understand that importance of the award show then, but are those small moments worth the immense praise the Oscars get? Especially when those moments aren’t planned by the award show but rather the people who see it as an opportunity to speak about these issues.
The Oscars shouldn’t matter but it does. And one tiny blog can’t change anything about that but maybe it can spark a conversation (even among my peers) on if this voting system within the Academy is actually an effective way to truly honor the movies that deserve such praise or if it’s just hollow and shallow. And maybe a movie doesn’t have to win an Oscar or even be nominated for one to be considered great.
LA LA LAND was called the winner, and then it was actually revealed that Moonlight was the real winner for best picture. There are not enough words to contain my joy that this movie won. And this reaction that I am having, I still do not understand why I’m having it but I guess that’s why the Oscars are a big deal. The emotions behind it, the anxiety of wanting your favorite to win–or maybe in the end, it’s all just for show and it simply doesn’t matter.