"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
February 28, 2007

Academy Awards

I’m a reluctant Academy Awards viewer. As a lover of art-house, world and experimental film, the Oscars frequently strike me as a crass revelation of the big-business end of the entertainment industry. Such an awards ceremony is wrong or evil, but with the possible exception of the technical awards (e.g., score, cinematography, art direction, etc), […]

I’m a reluctant Academy Awards viewer. As a lover of art-house, world and experimental film, the Oscars frequently strike me as a crass revelation of the big-business end of the entertainment industry. Such an awards ceremony is wrong or evil, but with the possible exception of the technical awards (e.g., score, cinematography, art direction, etc), the winners typically don’t map the films that interest me.

Consider these selections from the last couple of decades of best film winners; Platoon, Dances With Wolves, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, American Beauty, Crash. For me, each of these risible movies was clearly outclassed by other films in their winning year. It is hard to shake the feeling that each win speaks more to a carefully crafted marketing and PR campaign, than to the merits of those films themselves.

That said, I found my typical cynicism strangely subdued this year. Perhaps it was because a number of the nominated films this year were more appealing this time round – The Lives of Others, Volver, The Departed, Blood Diamond. Or, perhaps it was the attempt to make the awards more international in flavour and the politics more restrained and relfective.

Not that the show didn’t have some cringe-worthy moments. Penelope Cruz was mistaken for a Mexican (don’t get me started!). Also, the film that inspired The Departed, Infernal Affairs, was called a Japanese work, even though it is one of the biggest recent Hong Kong films.

Speaking of Infernal Affairs/The Departed, there was been lots of news coverage here, not just about the announcer’s gaff, but also the multiple awards. That includes a fair bit of angst about the award for best adapted screenplay – perhaps the prize was based on making the fewest changes possible from the original source.

It will take a few more years for my cynicism about the Academy Awards to subside, but at least this year’s gala felt like a step in the right direction.

[tags] Oscars, Academy Awards [/tags]

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Responses
Adam G. 16 years ago

I never follow any awards ceremonies. The other day I was thinking about how impressed people are by them and by participating in them. Seems odd to me.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

I guess people do respond to recognition. We value graduation ceremonies, most parents love to see their kids recieve awards at school assemblies and sports events, many folks still value work-based long service and excellence awards.

Also, with popular events like the Oscars, there is also a level of validation for the fans of certain films or actors. For me, The Lives of Others is the best film I’ve seen in a long time and I would be lying if I did not admit some level of gratification that it was recognised at the ceremony.

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