That's right. I don't. I quit watching about two years ago. I was a lifelong viewer, too. I remember the STREAKER behind David Niven, that's how very old I am. I watched Roberto Benigni annoy everyone by jumping all over the seats to get to the podium. I watched Rob Lowe and that horrible Snow White musical number. Uma, Oprah, Billy Crystal (my favorite host by far), Chris Rock, Jon Stewart (also funny). Sure, sure, naysayers have always condemned the Academy Awards as self-congratulatory baloney and of course, intellectually, we all know that. But I didn't care. The red carpet! The gaffes! The groans and cheers!
But somehow, a couple of years ago, it hit me -- this is not about rewarding good films. This is about rewarding the industry of publicity and hype. Not that good films are not rewarded -- there are nominees this year that were absolutely great films. There are good directors and actors nominated. Don't get me wrong. But the intentions of the Oscars has gotten so bald that I find myself bored.
Like you, I love movies. I LOVE MOVIES. So. Much. They bring me comfort and joy, laughter and horror and memories and great lines of dialogue. And I love Hollywood (for all its warts) and I adore adore adore writers and the creative process. But the Academy Awards are so canned that literally nothing exciting happens anymore. Ricky Gervais's remarks at the Golden Globes, while mildly entertaining, are hardly new and hardly ground-breaking. And we can't hope for anything close to that at the Oscars, so prepared and produced are the awards. There are no surprises. None.
For me, the Academy Awards bear no relation to the films I enjoyed this or any other year. I don't think it's the awards that have changed -- it's me. I am no longer interested in hype. The year that finally broke my spirit was the year that neither 500 Days of Summer nor Adventureland were nominated. Two of the films I had most enjoyed that year. What the heck?
When you live in Los Angeles, you are accustomed to seeing giant billboards and trade ads suggesting that so-and-so should be nominated, then later, should win. The publicity dollars that go into the voting is absurd. And the screeners which flood Hollywood just before nominations are announced, are a not-so-subtle way of buying votes. And the fact that comedy almost NEVER wins or is much less nominated is absurd. We need comedies these days. There are films that are RELEASED just in time to be eligible for the Oscars. The sober, "important" films. Please.
The Academy Awards need to become relevant and meaningful again. More of a people's choice, I think. Industry nominations, people's votes for best pic, anyway. And there should be genre awards, not just best picture. And somebody should make a big mistake, slip up or otherwise do something -- anything -- that is not produced down to the last second. The Oscars used to be way more entertaining. I like it, I really liked it!
Mind you, because this is the industry I work in, I pay attention to the noms and I'll pay attention to the wins. But only because I need to know that information. For entertainment value, the Academy Awards are somewhere around watching an infomercial for three hours for me. I know, I sound like a curmudgeon. It's just been too many disappointing years of wasted time and three-layer dip at this point. Definitely my experience is accentuated, living in LA, where the town is shuttered as if for a presidential inauguration during the ceremony and helicopters circle Hollywood and Highland ominously.
Personally, this year -- and I'm happy to read about it later, the only films I have any investment in are Exit Through the Gift Shop (doc category) Natalie Portman (actress) and 127 Hours (it's nominated, right?). The King's Speech is one of the most over-rated films in recent history. GREAT performance by Firth, don't get me wrong - but - really?? Have we not seen this story archetype a million times, guys?!
Last year at this time I was in Jerusalem. The Academy Awards came on at an odd hour, translated. I watched for about five minutes then went and got some hummus. Bah humbug.
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