In Defense of The Oscars


I’m so sorry.

I know everything this week is about Oscars. Every major news outlet has predictions, entertainment shows are more obsessive than usual, Oscar-related puns are running dry. “Anne Hathaway dreamed a dream she’d win an Oscar…” “Anne Hathaway is dreaming about a Academy win…” “Anne Hathaway’s dreams may turn to nightmares…” Gag me with a spoon.

But guess what? Nothing is over-saturated quite like the blogosphere. Every, and I mean EVERY blogger has listed his or her predictions. Everyone wants to timestamp their opinions so they’ll have material to rub in our collective face. That, or hastily delete their thoughts in embarrassment.

Yet here I am, writing about the Oscars. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.

The last thing I want to do is bore you… well, that and further inflate the Academy’s ego. It’s already the size of a planetoid.

But all that aside, this is the only time of the year I can write about the Oscars. So if you really can’t stand another bit of Oscar-related reading, just wait a few weeks. By then, this post won’t seem as trite. And people may have new puns, which is more important.

Anne Hathaway was very good. Sorry, I hate puns.

Anne Hathaway was very good. Sorry, I hate puns.

But you know, with all this weird cultural obsessiveness, you’d think people actually liked the Academy Awards. This is not the case. In any of those hundreds of Oscar-related articles, scan through the comments section. Inevitably, you’ll get someone like this…
“here is my prediction. i dont care out of all the films you mentioned never saw one. so heres what i plan on doing not watching the egos blowing up the building with stupid people in attendance.”

or this…

“Awful movies and overrated performences. An 9 year old girl can get a nomination but not impressive and powerful actresses like Marion Cotillard or Rachel Weis? Poor Naomi was great but its between the PR ladies like Lawrence and Chastain. Terrible. The Academy has losts its touch.”

or this…

“i know a dachshund named oscar, and his eyes are always so sad. he knows things… he’s seen things.”

Hmm. So true.

Hmm. So true.

In any case, this defense could share a lot with my Golden Globes entry. If the Oscars are a chance to talk about movies, I’ll take it. However, there is something different about these two award shows. Whereas the Golden Globes (arguably) know they aren’t taken seriously, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has the aforementioned ego issue. They think we all follow their whims… and we kinda do, which is frustrating.

In case you didn't think they're full of themselves, a Greek temple.

In case you didn’t think they’re full of themselves, a Greek temple.

It’s because of this self-worship and general pomposity that trolls like to grit their teeth in opposition. The most prideful and arrogant among us are also the most fun to tear down (especially via internet anonymity). And to be honest, this is a show where haughty Hollywood types applaud themselves and give each other statuettes. So hatred for the Academy Awards is both understandable and partially valid.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t defend them. In fact, I love the Oscars.

The Academy has every right to choose what movies to honor. And really, that makes analysis more interesting.

For instance, last year’s Best Picture nominees were all incredibly optimistic. In this excellent AV Club article, Tasha Robinson shows that all nine movies were about dealing with the past and making the best of the present. However, in this year’s AV Club analysis, Todd VanDerWerff claims that the current nominees share a need to address the skeletons in our closets. Looking at how the Academy reviews a year in film can show what is important about that year in general. It’s pretty neat, in a film nerd way.

Writing that paragraph earned me this moniker, didn't it?

Writing that paragraph earned me this moniker, didn’t it?

We may think the awards themselves don’t matter, and we may be right. However, it’s interesting to see what the Academy thought. The only way people’s cinema opinions don’t matter is if they don’t like film in the first place. Otherwise, thoughts and opinions are all we have to go on. It’s the discussion that counts, and Oscar keeps it going.

Let me bring you back to the commenters. The first one doesn’t seem to like films, so it’s alright. The second one obviously has a jaded opinion, but it’s still discussion. And most importantly, Dachshunds do have the saddest eyes ever.

Hating the Academy Awards is fine. They’re not a perfect institution. If we call them corrupt, stupid, mismanaged, out of touch… we’ll be partially right. However, we can’t say the Academy Awards are unimportant. If we love films, then the Oscars are important for what they claim and the conversations they start. They are a celebration of (mostly) good films, so what is there to hate?

Other than the host?

Other than the host?

Yep, depending on how the hosting goes, I may indirectly write about the Oscars again next week… I’m so very very sorry…


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