You know, 3.5 readers, I’m actually old enough to recall when it wasn’t entirely impossible for a popular film to also be an Oscar film. Sure, even when I was younger, the Oscars were known for pretentious snobbery, but movies like “Braveheart” or “The Departed” were well received by the public as well as having Oscar potential.
This is new category is laden with tacit admissions: 1) They’re admitting the films they nominate are basically just high falutin’ tripe 2) they’ll never, ever give the gold to a comic book movie.
You might forget that “The Dark Knight” was nominated for Best Picture in 2008 and funny, it was added to Netflix recently. I rewatched it over the weekend and was struck at how relevant it is – how longstanding evil can’t be defeated without great sacrifice, how sometimes defeating evil requires a man to get down into the muck, how there has to be darkness before there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, plus the immortal debate over whether or not all men are corruptible given the right circumstances.
Didn’t win. Had an asshole dressed as a bat.
My guess as to why are they doing this? 1) Back in the day, people would actually become fans of a film and would watch the Oscars to see if their favorite movie wins. Why, I recall people openly debating which films were the best…because they’d seen them.
No one saw the films this past year and if they did, the convo would be, “What, you think the film about the deaf woman who fucks a fish monster is better than the film about the grad student who statutorily rapes his employer’s teenage son? How dare you?!”
Second, there is a movement in all walks of life for minorities to be treated equally everywhere and that should be no different in film. So…the issue is that Oscar films usually deal with heavy subjects, so if a movie featuring black people wins, the black people are usually portrayed as slaves, or downtrodden, poor, caught in an oppressive system…and it’s not that I’m saying those films aren’t important but…
…oh well the hell. They’re probably doing this because they want “Black Panther” to win an Oscar but they can’t bring themselves to give a gold statue for best picture to a movie about superheroes, even if the movie was able to use sci fi and comic book elements that a) appeal to young people and b) do a better job of explaining the historical arguments of how to obtain civil rights for African Americans.
Honestly, an argument could be made that BP deserves Best Pic outright and this could be Oscar night’s one chance to say hey, we aren’t snooty, we gave it to a super hero film.
But they just can’t do it.
Besides the Black Panther argument, black people (well, I don’t mean to speak for them so if I have any black readers feel free to educate me but I think I’m right)…they don’t ALWAYS want to watch TV and see black people as either slaves or downtrodden people. Sometimes they want to see black people living life, having fun, going on adventures and so on. To that end, a movie like “Girls Trip” might take home some gold.
Aside from the “Oscars So White” issue, I think the Academy is wrestling with its view that popular and/or comic booky/action/comedy/horror or fun or blockbuster popcorn films are taking on more and more social issues. “Captain America: Winter Soldier” for example looked into whether we are sacrificing our right to privacy by putting so much of our lives onto the Internet – data for the government to mine and use and abuse.
I know the Academy prefers their precious, snooty little films about Cold War fish fucking but it wouldn’t hurt them to just give the award to a super hero movie one time…especially one like BP with a lot of cultural significance…and then they could go on to give the film to a snooty fish fucking film next year.
In the early 2000s, they gave the gold to one of the LOTR films, a popular, high grossing film, and then went on to give it to snooty films in following years.
What say you, 3.5 readers?