Your Voices: On the Oscars

Your Voices

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic and I’ll take time to make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let fellow readers and moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day!

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

There are a host of opinions about the Academy Awards. There are many who absolutely love the Oscars and view them as the pinnacle of the past movie year. Their excitement spikes once the nominees are announced and they can’t wait to see who takes home the year’s most prestigious movie prize. But there is another group with a far more dismissive take. They pay no attention to the Oscars and they give no credibility to the nominees, winners, or process. They see them as frivolous and without merit mainly because they disagree with the movies that Oscar awards or they find such awards pointless.

I tend to lean towards the first form of thinking, but not necessarily for the same reasons. First off I don’t view the Oscars as the measuring stick for the best movies of the year. For example, this year only two films out of the nine nominated for Best Picture made my Top 10 list. That’s normally the case every year. Today’s Academy Awards aren’t as reflective of the year’s best movies as they were in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Sure Oscar would occasionally flub it up back then, but most of the time at least every nominee was a great film. That leads to the biggest reason why I personally love the Oscars. There is such a great tradition and a rich history that comes with the Academy Awards. Seeing movies, directors, actors, and actresses join such an amazing lineage is cause for both excitement and debate among film fans. I love that.

YOUR VOICES: What are your thoughts on The Academy Awards?

Now it’s time for Your Voices. What do you think about the Academy Awards? How do you approach them? Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. After all, this is all about Your Voices and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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59 thoughts on “Your Voices: On the Oscars

  1. It’s a holiday season for movie lovers. Maybe you don’t like every gift but it’s fun to have things to look forward to. The professionals in the industry care to acknowledge their peers and who could begrudge them that? The awards draw attention to many films that would otherwise be ignored. They don’t mean much in the long run but look hope much fun everyone has crowing or notching over something. I just wish they went back to Monday’s so I could treat it like a three day weekend.

    • Can’t argue with a thing you said. I always get a but giddy leading I to the Oscar nominee announcements. Some of the intrigue is lost with all of the pre-Oscar awards. Normally they give away who most of the nominees will be. But there are always surprises and I’m always excited! This year is no different.

  2. I pay attention to the nominations and usually catch up on the best pictures noms that I missed. However there are some great films that fly under the Oscar radar like Inside Llewyn Davis. As for the actual event, I might check in on it here and there if I remember. I’ll be busy watching The Walking Dead instead haha.

    • So you respect the Oscars but they aren’t something you feel compelled to watch? I completely get that. I get reeeally excited for them but also don’t use them as the gospel. You have a perfect example. Llewyn Davis gets snubbed but Philomena gets a Best Picture nomination. Philomena isn’t a bad movie but it and Llewyn Davis are on different levels.

  3. I value the Oscars, as a guide. While it I not the only measure of the best films of the year, but it is one of them.

    I also think they help attract attention to movies that otherwise don’t get enough of it (this year Dallas Buyer’s Club jumps to mind).

    • Very good points. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard friends who are casual movie watchers say they’ve never heard of this or that Oscar nominee. It certainly does open up some movies to an audience who might have otherwise missed them.

      For me, the history behind the award still plays a big part. I love thinking back on the old Oscar winners and adding new winners to their company.

      • I forgot to give you credit for that point, actually. The tradition behind the award is definitely part of the reason the ceremony remains so relevant.

      • Exactly. I still think back to the Oscar wins of favorites of mine like Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, etc. It gives the Oscars such a sense of prosperity and importance.

  4. I don’t want to sound like a ‘film wanker’ but I hate the Oscars. They are for all intents and purposes a marketing exercise and like you say do not really reflect the best films. I also really struggle to filter out all the awards season chatter, so by this time I am just over people talking about awards and want them to get back to chatting about the films themselves.

    The only awards I pay attention to are the various guild awards. I tend to think that actors nominating and selecting acting winners is more valid and so on.

    • Oh you aren’t alone. I know others who feel the same way which is why I posed the question. I find the different approaches to the Oscars to be interesting.

      So the history of the Academy Awards doesn’t really play into you feelings about them? That’s a big deal for me. It sounds like all of the Oscar buzz play into your dislike of them?

      • My issue with the buzz is that I feel it distracts a lot of film writers and even just film fans from chatting deeply about films for a few months of the year. Some people can definitely do both. But others are just totally award centric for a few months.

        I totally take your point re the history of the Oscars. You can see they were a lot more meaningful back in the day. Especially with the great foreign language films and filmmakers that were honoured. But I personally find it easy to just totally differentiate that from what they have become. I guess the great history makes the present day iteration even more frustrating for me.

      • That’s an interesting way to look at it and I can see where it would feed the frustration. I think you’re 100% correct, they did seem to carry more meaning back then. I do still think actors and filmmakers take them very seriously now. But something about the past Awards seems more important. I’m talking about before it became a big television production with red carpets and interviewers asking “Who are you wearing?”

  5. I do love the Oscars – the excitement, the red carpet etc and I think the general buzz it creates about the movie industry is great. But it does feel increasingly like a popularity contest rather than a recognition of truly great films. I also find the idea that, basically, all of the same movies get nominated across all the categories a bit frustrating, although I can see how that happens. The Oscars is a nice event to anticipate – and, as you say it has a great feeling of tradition and nostalgia – but I feel it needs to open its a mind a bit to other films than might be a bit less ‘popular’.

    • I love everything you’re saying. It’s gotten so obvious that we pretty much know the nominees (or most of them) before they are announced due to how in line they are with the other Awards shows. I also wish foreign films would get a closer look for nominations outside of Best Foreign Film. Occasionally they do but it’s very rare (last year’s Amour was a rare exception).

      While it’s not perfect, I’m with you. I find it exciting and a load of fun. Do you watch the pre-shows, the red carpet, etc.? I enjoy all of the preliminary stuff to a degree. I’ve never done Oscar pools though.

      • Agree with you on foreign films! It’s unfair that they don’t really get a decent shot at Best Picture. I love to watch the red carpet if I can – there’s something addictive about the buzz on Oscar night!

  6. I actually look at the Oscars as a guilty pleasure, to be honest. It’s all razzmatazz and the academy’s judgement always seems warped and one sided. I pay more credence to Cannes but that being said, I still can’t help getting swept in the oscars. It’s actually quite typical of American celebrations: you guys seem to do it so well.

    • LOL. We can celebrate well but often with more pomp than substance! 😉

      I can see exactly what you’re saying. I think if Oscar would get out of some of its more annoying habits more people would view it as a true measuring stick and celebration of great films. But they do bring guilty pleasure viewing on themselves.

      Let me ask you this. Do you think of their own omissions and flubs are getting worse as the years go by? I was thinking about that the other day. I was wondering if they were or if I’ve just become more in tune with the movies that come out during the year.

      • Certainly in my memory, I think the Oscars have always snubbed things that should have been included. I know they’ve started to include Foriegn Films in the best Film category like Amour but it’s not that often and the choice of films is slightly biased. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s not just the oscars that do this. Bafta are terrible for choosing films and actors from the Uk when you could normally argue that they didn’t deserve it. There have been some recent blatant omissions recently, though, like Shame and The Master. Omissions like this are unforgivable sometimes.

      • Amour keeps coming to my mind as well. Riva was also nominated for Best Actress. But as you said that is the exception and certainly not the rule. Take this year for example. Mads Mikkelsen gave what I thought was the best performance of the year it The Hunt. Was he even recognized with a nomination? Of course not. Maybe that’s just sour grapes on my part, but I don’t think you can overlook the trend.

      • I absolutely agree on Mikkelsen! I reckon that’s why Cannes has a bit more credibility. They recognised him and they seem to really appreciate the work of all cinema and actors. This became apparent to me years ago when Peter Mullan won the best actor there for Ken Loach’s low budget Scottish film My Name Is Joe. That decision really made me like their choices while they don’t ignore American cinema either with Pulp Fiction and David Lynch winning too. These are just a few small examples of their decision making and credibility.

      • I think you bring up an interesting point with Cannes. I always try to put their winners on my radar. But of course even they have their limitations. There are many great films that don’t make it to Cannes which limits their scope a bit. But their perspective is what I love. They don’t tie themselves down to one particular genre, performer, or filmmaker. That is something Oscar is rather notorious for.

      • You echo my exact feelings Keith. And you put it more simply than I did. Cannes do have limitations too like all awards ceremonies. It’s all good, man. I do enjoy them all.

  7. The thing I like best about the oscars are the outfits. The red carpet. What people are wearing. Yeah, I’m a film person, but I don’t think the way the films are chosen for nominations or who eventually wins is any bearing on the quality of the film or how well liked the film is by the masses. It’s just a ceremony where people nod and wink to themselves because they know the right people.

    • The outfits??? C’mon now Jaina!!! 😉

      Seriously, I hear what you’re saying. It’s a good point. I think that’s why the history of the awards play such a big role in my love for them. For example, when I hear someones name announced as the Best Actor winner I subconsciously think of Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Spencer Tracy, etc. It’s kind of an odd approach but it is ingrained in me.

  8. I think the Oscars is a good spectacle and it’s hard not to get involved and interested in what’s going on. It’s clear that most of the actors and filmmakers really care about it, so it’s hard for us not to care as well. The whole nomination process, such as release windows and all that, is hugely flawed though, as is the way there are always certain types of film that get awarded and some that are always overlooked, such as horror and comedy.

    I also think people take some of it way too seriously, especially when they start hating on actors and directors just because they won. Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, for example, have taken loads of flack ever since they won and it just seems ridiculous and bitchy.

    • “It’s clear that most of the actors and filmmakers really care about it, so it’s hard for us not to care as well.” – That’s something I haven’t thought of but you’re exactly right. They do get excited and amped up for it and you have to assume it’s due to more than dressing up nice and going to after parties.

      You’re also right about the flawed system. At times it’s mind-boggling how they come up with their nominees and there are glaring omissions from the horror and comedy genres. That said, I do think both genres are hurting for originality right now. But Oscar’s trend of snubbing them goes way back.

  9. In general I don’t care much about the Oscars, I might look at who has been nominated and who has won, but really skip everything else about it. Don’t watch the show and won’t even get worked up about which movie/actor etc. has won like some people tend to do.

    • That’s interesting. So far the responses have been split down the middle. Some are really excited for them while others could care less.

      Again I get back to the history of it. I do think that in the past they did a better job of selecting mostly quality films as the nominees. And early on as a younger movie watcher, the Oscar winners and nominees of old are what drew me to classic cinema. I began watching them and I’m so glad I did. Still today’s Oscars drives a lot of people away with its boneheaded practices and omissions.

      So needless to say you won’t have your popcorn ready for the red carpet? 😉

      • I am in the camp who does not care much.

        Never really looked into the history of it, although I must admit I’ll probably will check out a movie sooner if I see it has received an Oscar. I don’t seek out movies because of an Oscar though….I’ll usually go with top lists (like the IMDB top 250).

        Nope, will not be eating popcorn. Although when I told the kids that one of the songs of Frozen would be sung they were interested in watching. Guess I’ll just show them that part once it is up on Youtube 🙂

  10. I am ambivalent towards The Oscars. I like to try and see the best picture nominees but I can’t say I am crazy excited and I can’t face sitting through the entire awards show. I do like checking out the red carpet though. #dressporn

    • AHA!!!! Another dressporn addict!!!! 😉

      I do think there are some real positives to the Oscars but there does tend to be a little shallowness as well. Regardless, I can’t help myself. I really do enjoy the ceremony and I love the conversations leading up to it and following it. Even though they completely miss the target sometimes, they do open people up to new films on many occasions. If only they could fine tune their process a little bit!

  11. It is a tradition with my daughter to watch the Oscars–it’s the female Superbowl in my world. Get out the Hors d’oeuvres. Pour the champagne. Girl friends at work are coming over, we’ll be critiquing the dresses and suits, I’ll be screaming about the win or loss, I like the variety show, the laughs, seeing the stars sitting around trying to act cool and collected. The whole kit and caboodle.
    I do agree there’s a lot of politicking going on behind the curtain which denies deserving films their entrance into the competition. It still is the Hallmark of all the competitions whether you like it or not.

    • I love it! Do you guys do Oscar pools and predictions? I get excited like that myself. I’m completely aware of the flaws with the system, yet I love a night that is so focused on movies and that stirs up such good conversation before and after the show. Unfortunately there isn’t a big crowd who get excited about it in the small town I live in. So I will be sitting with my lovely bride enjoying it with her.

  12. Great question Keith. I don’t always agree w/ the Oscars though my faves did win the last couple of years. At the same time, I don’t really take it TOO seriously. It’s just a fun event we movie lovers can take part in from a distance and enjoy. I don’t really pay attention to all the politics and campaigning though I’m curious about the latter and might do a post on that next week. I quite enjoy doing live-tweeting during award ceremonies, too 😀

    • You talk about some of the great things about it. It is a lot of FUN! It really isn’t something that anyone should get real serious about but it is a time where we can just focus on movies (often times really good ones) and have a good time.

      And the live-tweeting is a hoot. Love reading and tweeting which gets to another thing I love about the Oscars – all of the great conversations and discussions both before and after the big night. I love that.

      So do you go to a big watch party with friends or do you and your hubby kick back and watch it at home?

  13. It’s insane actually. I very rarely award same people they do but I’m still so damn happy when someone I like wins. It’s still a prestigious award, no matter what. And I love watching it, it’s so exciting even if the ceremony is boring and winners are predictable. Sometimes surprises happen and also the joy of those who won is often lovely.

  14. I enjoy the oscars and the process of awards and I feel like an academy award is a good accolade to give to an actor. However I also feel that too much emphasis is placed on them and that this creates the perception your not a competent actor unless you have won one.

    • I think you make a great point. They are viewed by some as an indication that you are truly a top-tier actor or actress. But I think that the history of great performers who never won an Oscar reveals that as false. For example Cary Grant never won an acting Oscar. He did eventually get a Lifetime Achievement Award but how did he never get an acting Oscar?

    • I really think that “12 Years a Slave” is going win. I am rooting for Gravity. I think Cuaron will take Best Director but I think “12 Years” has the big prize.

  15. As you know, I love the Oscars and am probably even a little bit obsessed by them. But there are still lots of years where my own set of winners or even nominees would have been drastically different than the ones they picked. Then again, they are chosen by ballots, which means that every single year there are thousands of Oscar voters who also would have chosen something else as well – that’s just how democracies work.

    A few things that I do that keep me from going crazy are that I actually look at all the nominations for all the categories, not just best picture and acting. A lot of the public’s favorite action movies actually get nominated quite often by the academy — but for visual effects, sound editing, etc. People complain about that, but maybe we should actually be learning from it: In a sense, the people who actually make movies are explaining to us what it is that made these films so successful.

    I also do a translation in my head where every time I hear “best picture” I try to replace it with the phrase “best producer”, since it’s the producers who actually win these awards. I find that it also helps make sense of their choices over time, since the producers of a film like The Artist had a much tougher time than something like Iron Man 3, where the audience and studio greenlighting were pretty easy to find.

    I also love the history of it, but I push back a little bit when I hear that they “used” to be filled with classics. Isn’t it also partially true that the reason we think of these films as classics today comes from the fact that their nomination or win has kept them in the conversation long enough to receive that title? If someone were to watch all the films made in those classic years, we might very well decide that our top 10 list would only hold 2 or 3 of the actual nominees as well. And 50 years from now, I think it’s possible that people will look back at the films of today and reminisce for how much better we have it now, in part because the other films that we might like better will have faded from memory, absent from the historical “reminder list” that the Oscars provide!

    I also know that the Oscars used to be run almost exclusively by the big studios, which also had a lot of control over what the public liked or even was able to see. As independent methods of filmmaking became more possible, the Oscars have spread the wealth a little bit, but the studios still control a great deal of what the public sees throughout the year. In some parts of the country/world, you can’t even get some of the smaller films in your local multiplex because they are playing the same blockbuster over and over on 8 screens. So in some ways the divide between the Oscars and the public can sometimes actually be a good thing. (although, I admit, not always).

    • Great thoughts. I see what you’re saying about the classics. I think what I’m saying is that I find that the nominees of old are consistently better movies as a whole in my opinion. I’ve found that more often I find movies out of the more recent nominee bunch that I either think are decent or flat out don’t care for. I always like some of them so its not like there are no good movies.

      I’ve always noticed the special effects and sound categories. When I was younger and didn’t have the access to films like I do today, the ones I did know and like often appeared in those categories. I’ve always appreciated them as well.

  16. Pingback: » Should The Oscars Be Considered The Pinnacle Of Film? Fernby Films

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