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Bond
January 26th, 2009, 12:21 AM
So the Oscars have announced their nominees for best picture and they have produced a list that again skews heavily towards social issues and commentary on the human condition. Noticeably they left off The Dark Knight from consideration. Notable because the Academy usually has respect for the truly gargantuan box office hits and The Dark Knight is in that category and with its grim somber tone would at least give it pretensions to seriousness.

The Oscars audience has been falling in recent years and with the current year's picks I don't see that trend changing. Are the Academy Awards still relevant, if they ever were, or have they become little more than a political forum to introduce, formalize, and perpetuate the views of certain interest groups into the mainstream?

Andols
January 26th, 2009, 02:08 PM
Relevant to what?

The average movie fan? Nope.

I'd really like to see the judging criteria they use to pick winners. I sometimes have trouble even finding hints of the artistic or production value of some nominees.

Eldanuumea
January 26th, 2009, 03:34 PM
I think they have some relevance, but certainly insider-political stuff gets in the way of true greatness more and more.

Personally, I think Wall * E is one of the greatest films ever made, in any genre, but of course, it's consigned to the animation category. It transcends categories.

DailyRich
January 26th, 2009, 04:10 PM
The Oscars will become even less relevant if they start nominating films simply on the basis of whether people will tune in to watch those films win awards.

And no film where the lead sounds like Cookie Monster for a good 30% of its running time should ever be nominated for Best Picture, unless that movie actually stars Cookie Monster.

Eldanuumea
January 26th, 2009, 06:20 PM
I can think of so many years where a truly magnificent piece of cinematic art was overshadowed by a flashier film with "bigger" name stars and directors.

Rob Roy lost out to Braveheart, even though it was probably a better film in many ways. Braveheart was great, but Rob Roy was far more complex, and the acting of Liam Neeson and Tim Roth was unbelievable.

A little-known gem called Oscar and Lucinda - IMHO, a perfect film in every way that a film can be judged - was literally sunk by the juggernaut Titanic.
Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchette weren't even nominated for their acting, which is unbelievable. (It was Blanchette's first film, BTW.)

Bond
January 27th, 2009, 02:27 AM
Part of the reason for my interest in the subject is not necessarily related to whether the Academy gets it right when it comes to picking the best film but rather looking at what the awards reflect about current artistic and cultural values and those who are trying to influence it.

I generally lean populist. I see popularity as a relatively unvarnished gauge of artistic value. When you move on to other measures of possible artistic merit that is when I think special interests are given more leeway to manipulate our perceived values and impose their dogma. The Oscars are a premier forum and tool for such special interests and it is for such reasons I look at them to gain an understanding of who the players are and what ideas they are trying to sell me so that I am also more aware of them in other forums such as in news media since if they are active in one area they are likely active in another.

In a way I think a show like American Idol has supplanted cultural forums like the Oscars and other award shows because they bypass to an extent some of the special interests that control such events.


The Oscars will become even less relevant if they start nominating films simply on the basis of whether people will tune in to watch those films win awards.

Which begs the question, why should someone watch the Oscars? Should not the Oscars be an interactive experience? Should not the audience be invested to some degree in the outcome? If not, and the only reason for people to watch them is to be introduced to good films one might not have watched, then isn't in effect what you are saying that the awards are merely one big advertisement? Just another propaganda tool?

Out of all the Oscar best picture nominees how many are truly cultural touchstones? What does that say of the philosophy and dogma espoused by the Academy?

david johnson
January 27th, 2009, 05:03 AM
oscars? yawn :eek:
may they die an horrendous death.

i've despised them for years.

dj

biodroid
February 5th, 2009, 07:11 AM
I think they are irrelevant because its always musicals and obscure dramas that win. I can guarantee you that if a musical is in the list it will win, look at Chicago and Dream Girls, and they were both crap

DailyRich
February 5th, 2009, 09:35 AM
Out of all the Oscar best picture nominees how many are truly cultural touchstones? What does that say of the philosophy and dogma espoused by the Academy?

Being a cultural touchstone does not mean you're a Best Picture candidate. Flashdance is a cultural touchstone. Flashdance was nowhere near the best movie release in 1983.

The Academy needs to realize it's not the films that are being nominated that are causing the ratings problems, it's the dull, uninspired, tedious broadcast that's turning people away. When Bob Hope or Johnny Carson hosted, it didn't matter what the films were, people still tuned in.

DailyRich
February 5th, 2009, 09:48 AM
I think they are irrelevant because its always musicals and obscure dramas that win.

2006 - The Departed - $132,384,315 gross, directed by one of the most acclaimed American directors of all time
2004 - Million Dollar Baby - $100,422,786 gross, directed by and starring an American icon
2003 - The Return of the King - Only the second film to gross more than a billion dollars worldwide
2001 - A Beautiful Mind - Over $170 million gross

Yeah, obscurity abounds here.

In fact, going back to 1990, only three films that won Best Picture failed to gross more than $100 million domestic -- The English Patient, Braveheart and Crash. And Braveheart made over $200 million worldwide. These are not obscure films winning this award.

It sounds like your argument would more accurately be "I think they are irrelevant because it's always movies I don't like that win."