Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 Is The Year The Oscars Officially Lost Credibility

There's a headline that's bound to get chuckles from many readers, particularly those who've seen the various choices that the Academy Awards have made over the various years. Going back all the way to the 40's, one can see various winners of awards like Best Picture that feel ridiculous in retrospect, but those feel almost quaint compared to what the Academy Awards has become in recent years. Crash winning Best Picture? Happy Feet winning Best Animated Feature? Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side winning Best Actress? What the hell kind of wins are those?

The primary problem with these wins is something that admittedly the ceremony itself doesn't have full control over; these awards do have a huge impact over Hollywood in general. Winners of prestigious acting awards are given massive boosts from a victory, which is a problem thanks to an issue that does stem from the Academy Awards, specifically the voting branch. Those voting for these awards have rarely recognized actors from comedies/action/animated features, as well as actors/directors/writers/films from women and people of a non-Caucasian ethnicity.

The fact that winners of massive awards don't recognize films from these genres or those of other genders and races means they don't get the kind of career surge that these awards can bring. What a tragedy, considering the enormous amount of talent that the Academy Awards tend to overlook thanks to recurring prejudices that exist in nominees and winners. Ironically, this week The Hollywood Reporter ran anonymous reports from various voters for the Academy Awards, showcasing their picks for numerous Oscars categories.

The irony comes in once several of these voters bemoaned being called out on racial problems with the nominations, considering several films heavily involving African-American actors and talent like Selma or Beyond The Lights (I saw the former and loved it and eagerly await seeing the latter once it arrives on Blu-Ray this week) were snubbed this year. Many of the voters dismissed these claims of "prejudice" by acting in an extremely racist fashion, which only seemed to reinforce the stereotypes that the Academy Awards has earned over the years. The ceremony hasn't been perfect in the past, far from it, but this particular year seemed to just emphasize how out of touch this ceremony is when it comes to recognizing bot diversity and quality.

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