Oscars 2019 is upon us, but do we even care anymore?
The Oscars haven’t exactly been representative of what regular moviegoers liked, or appreciated, in a long time
It’s that time of the year again – Oscar season. Does it excite us any more though? There was a time when film buffs all over the world cared about which movies an elite group of people chose, to set the bar for Hollywood as the best of the best. After monumental events such as #OscarSoWhite and #TimesUp, is this the case?
The Oscars haven’t exactly been representative of what regular moviegoers liked, or appreciated, in a long time. In fact, many would call the whole process of selection askew and unfair, and historically, it has kept its distance from risky choices. There is a reason people have had to call out the fact that only white people were nominated for the most prestigious awards over the years, while women weren’t considered for any role other than the ones that had the word “actress” in the title.
Things, however, are evolving – definitely not at the pace that we would have wanted though. More projects predominantly involving people of color are being recognized by the Academy, with movies such as 'Black Panther', 'BlacKkKlansman', 'Green Book' and 'Roma' getting nominated this year. That said, there is one community that is still going unrecognized by the Academy – women.
In the last couple of years, thanks to revolutionary movements such as Me Too and Times Up, many women within the industry have started demanding fair treatment, equal pay, and in the context of awards, recognition for their contributions. Despite this, not a single female director has been nominated for Best Director, despite the fact that brilliant movies such as ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller), ‘Destroyer’ (Karyn Kusama) and ‘The Tale’ (Jennifer Fox) are eligible for nominations.
In fact, Deborah Davis is the only woman to be nominated for a major award for her work behind the camera. Davis shares her nomination for Best Original Screenplay for ‘The Favourite’ with Tony McNamara. Make no mistake, this is the members of the Academy telling us what is the “Best,” and it apparently seems they are doling out nominations and awards to white men year after year.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at the Best Actor and Actress category this year, and make a note of the number black actors and actresses that have been nominated. Let’s play Oscar snub bingo! Do you see a woman from one of the important movies of the year, ‘If Beale Street Could Talk,’ in the Best Actress nominees list? How about one of the actors from the movie in the Best Actor nominees list? In fact, the Best Actor and Actress nominee-choices merit bringing back #OscarSoWhite memories, if it were not for Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Yalitza Aparicio (Roma).
What sucks the most is that things were supposed to be different this year, especially with the introduction of the Best Popular Film category, which would reward the most popular films of the year. However, the potential new category was met with such an overwhelmingly negative response, the Academy had to cancel it, or rather, delay the category so as to "examine and seek additional input."
From having a very strict and concrete stance on everything, to giving in to the whims and fancies of the general public, the Oscars has become way less of an authority in the matter of what “Best” is. Host-less and lacking the new category that would have made the nominees more relatable to the general public, the Academy does not necessarily have the same pull on us it did even a decade ago.