Okay, now that we have the Debbie Downer part of the equation out of the way (What’s wrong with the Oscars) it’s time to focus on the positives of Oscar. Let’s do this!
They provide a good indication of what is worth seeing in the summer months
Yeah so I pretty much let the Oscars dictate my life in December/January. If a film is nominated for best picture at the Oscars or the Golden Globes you can be pretty sure it’s going to be good quality cinema. However, there’s usually one or two films that are nominated which I expect will bore me to tears and I am usually right e.g. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012) and Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012). Moral of the story: if a film is nominated but you reckon it looks crap, it probably is (by your own tastes)… Having said that I did not expect to enjoy The Ides of March (George Clooney, 2011) or Margin Call (J.C. Chandor, 2011) which were both nominated for screenplay awards (but not Best Picture), and I loved both of them. So, I guess the moral of the story is: If it doesn’t look like your kind of thing then you might hate it… but then again you might unexpectedly love it, so… maybe just see everything to be safe. That’s what I do.
Good quality films get noticed by the general public
I’ve mentioned previously that it’s really disappointing that 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013) hasn’t got much attention here in Australia. I anticipate that will change if it wins Best Picture on Oscar day because people are sheep and they want to look like they know stuff. The film snob inside me weeps when I hear that people are choosing to see something like 47 Ronin (Carl Rinsch, 2013) over all of the amazing films that are out at the moment. It reminds me of the time I heard a teenage girl talking to her friend on the phone in the middle of January: “Yeah we were gonna go to the movies but there’s nothing on. There’s some weird black and white silent film, what the hell?” Um, do you mean TEN-TIME OSCAR NOMINATED FILM THE ARTIST (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)? Amateurs.
Oscar nominations and wins can do wonders for careers
Once you’ve been nominated for an Oscar you will be forever referred to as “Academy Award Nominee So-and-So” (or “Winner” if you’re lucky). That’s pretty special. Actors who may have previously been struggling for roles will get an added boost once they get that title. And up-and-comers can be firmly cemented as true talent early on i.e. J-Law. Actually no, she doesn’t even need an Oscar. She’s already Meryl Streep. Just minus 15 nominations.
Every now and then there is a wonderful acceptance speech
Yeah so some of the speeches can drag a bit or make you cringe (Hello Gwyneth Paltrow), but there are some certainly worth watching. Here’s a couple of fun moments:
There are musical numbers + hilarious banter
Musical numbers = WINNING! Not quite as amazing as those at the Tony Awards but they can still be pretty awesome. Some of the hosting can be brilliant too – Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackman did it well. James Franco not so much (it probably helps to be sober). This year Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting so I have high hopes for her. And for the Golden Globes you can’t go past Tina Fey and Amy Poehler – legendary. Just give them an Oscar hosting gig already.
We can fawn over the amazing dresses on the red carpet
OK. Who doesn’t love this?! Well OK maybe straight men aren’t that into it. But the dresses can be BEWWWWWWDIFUL. And for those that aren’t as great – Joan Rivers can have her usual senile bitch about them (yeah you’re not fooling anyone with that face, Joan).
We get more Jennifer Lawrence awesomeness
Memes! Give us more memes! And brilliant videos.
Seeing the winners’ (and sometimes losers’) reactions to the announcement
Seeing the look on an actor’s face when they win is THE BEST PART OF THE WHOLE THING. I love seeing their excitement. And it can also be fun to watch the losers’ faces too – I often re-watch the announcements on YouTube 5 times just so I can see every single person’s reaction the SECOND it’s announced. It can be fun to spot the actors who put on a fake “Oh I’m so happy it’s him/her” face. Although sometimes you have the genuinely happy losers (refer to Holly Hunter in Anna Paquin clip below) who prove their awesomeness as human beings.
And a word about the preferential voting process for Best Picture
I wrote last time about how the voting system for Best Picture means that the film with the most number one votes doesn’t always win. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably a big improvement on the previous system. As John Lopez explains, “the winner is the film that would beat every movie in a one-on-one fight”. He goes on to explain that in this system of voting, every vote counts (unlike in the popular vote system) and it is impossible for two favourite films to split the vote and result in the third favourite film coming home the winner. For a more comprehensive explanation see http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2010/02/preferential-voting-good-for-oscar-good-for-democracy
Stay tuned for my predictions for Oscar 2014!