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Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Film Buff: Oscar-Shmoscar

I used to get excited about the Oscars. I tried to see all of the films nominated for best film and best director, at least, and as many of the other categories as I could manage.
Anymore, though, there are several factors that have made the Oscars less exciting for me over the years.
First, there are so many more movies released every year that it's difficult to catch them all, and I like to watch the shows nominated as well as those that weren't, just in case I don't agree. I find that when I'm watching the Oscars and I haven't seen 2 of the five (and now ten) eligible movies, it's difficult for me to really root for my favorite.
Second, I often don't agree. I like great cinematic effects as much as the next person (okay, maybe slightly less than the next person), but if the story-telling has holes as a result, then it's less than a great movie, in my opinion. James Cameron is not one of my favorite directors for this very reason.
Third, somewhat related to the previous two points, the movies that tend to be nominated are the movies that have had the most elaborate media campaigns for both the public and the academy voters. There's just something that feels a bit smarmy about the whole process to me anymore.
Finally, sometimes (not always, but sometimes) it feels to me even like a movie was made to win an Oscar rather than to tell a story. Obviously, a good film can do both, but sometimes it feels to me like the former took priority over the latter. There may not be much I can do about this apart from not participate - even as a spectator - in the process.
So, I won't bother with watching the Oscars this year. I didn't watch last year, either. What I might do instead is watch one of my favorite films that was never nominated for a single Oscar, the Cohen brothers' deftly-executed Blood Simple from 1984.

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