In late February I had a few words to say about the Oscars and their lack of diversity regarding the films they chose to nominate (here). They weren’t scathing or stinging but I felt the Academy’s nomination process reeked of in-house political correctness. These feelings, which I was unaware of, came to the fore during the process of creating my own awards ceremony. I realised not only was the Academy’s pool shallow but how unwilling they were to dive into the deep end. I lamented at the thought of quality of small budget and foreign films that were being disregarded because they didn’t have enough funds to maintain a high enough profile or stay in the political race.
Instead of being purely for vanity, an attempt to do something different to draw attention to my work and bring more traffic to my blog, my efforts surrounding the 1st Ever Annual Movie Dude Awards were imbued with a new purpose: to represent as many films from as many different film industries as I possibly could. It spurred me on and reinvigorated me at a time when my passion for the project was waning.
I knew this would be difficult but holy crap I didn’t realise just how hard it would be. When I began developing the concept I already had it in my head that this would be a tall order but as I started piecing the puzzle together I realised just how much I’d bitten off and how little I was prepared to chew.
The research and continual watching of films, trailers and clips was immensely time consuming and mentally draining to the point my motivation diminished greatly. I was also studying, and the continued need to put things off to, admittedly, get more important work done almost saw me throw the whole thing away. But the total glorification of what I was doing, on top of the promises I wanted to keep, became my justification to finish what I started.
I admit the execution of the ‘ceremony’ was rushed and underwhelming. What I envisioned didn’t come to pass as it would have taken far to long to bring together and get out there. There was a point where it was 50/50 I was going to call it a day or at least give you guys something and I figured if the Academy can half-arse it why can’t I?
I will say that in retrospect my first musing was a knee jerk reaction to something I should have already known; I guess naivety was just so comforting. But this time around I’ve had a good couple of months to reflect on my words and my work. The conclusion I’ve drawn is that after single-handedly going through the experience I can say that while I’m not as hateful towards the Oscars I’m angered now more than ever due to what I perceive to be a lack of legitimacy.
I watched the awards this year, just like I will every year, and I enjoy myself by burying myself under the romantic notion of what winning an Oscar should be like, but that’s all it really is at this point; a notion. The Academy awarding best picture to Birdman just felt like an attempt to appear diverse without actually harming a self-imposed standard of integrity. The only thing I took away from that was that they were unwilling to adapt and evolve to a modern interpretation of what standards a worldwide film academy should maintain and adhere to. And they’ve been stubborn in this regard for a very long time.
The whole process was the Academy sucking up to the big productions who wanted nothing more out of the Oscars than to give their films as much exposure as possible. In that sense I feel the fault lays not only with the Academy itself but with the films that take part. A lot of people are truly honoured to just be in attendance let alone win, but others I feel take it for granted. And it’s unnecessary, I mean; do some of Hollywood’s biggest names really need the exposure?
But what annoys me the most is that when the smoke settles and the ceremony is done for another year what do we hear about? This exploitation is clear and obvious but nobody calls them out on it because those who should be most offended are the ones who most benefit. All we get is the TV ratings and how whoever was hosting couldn’t hold a candle to Bob Hope or Billy Crystal. We get it, they’re the best, but for the love of god can you please move on from those two and judge these people based on their own merit?
Call it arrogance (I am, so go ahead) but I feel that, in some ways, I’ve put more effort into my little hobby than the Academy has for as far back as I can remember. I feel that we, the WordPress film critics, are a greater representative of the film industry worldwide than the Oscars. I’ve not yet read a film review on here that I thought was influenced by anything other than that person’s thoughts and opinions, something I really can’t say about the Oscars.
This is my declaration of challenge to the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences because you should be the greatest representative of the film industry we’ve got. Millions across the world would consider it a dream come true to win an Oscar but that achievement is tarnished by your secular view of the industry and the political influence you allow to be held over you.
Our community of blogs of WordPress, as well as those who blog elsewhere, the podcasters and the people on Twitter, have shown you up without even trying so imagine what cinema you could introduce to the world if you just threw off the restraints you’ve tied on yourselves? Forget about which production campaign is the loudest, stop worrying about what best represents the Academy and think about what best represents the film industry. Because without that industry you have no identity.
And to my fellow bloggers I say keep the dream alive, guys.