Why the Oscars don’t really matter anymore

Christian Harding
Assoc. Opinion Editor

Or, if you think they do, they probably shouldn’t.

For those who don’t know, the 86th Annual Academy Awards will be shown live this coming Sunday night. And while I’ll surely be tuning in, along with hundreds of Americans (as well as taking a shot for every winner I guess right), I don’t need the Oscars to tell me what films are among the best of the year. And frankly, neither do you.

Oscar-Nominations-2014Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the ceremony every year, and see it as something of an annual tradition myself, a tradition which is practically a given as such an outspoken film aficionado.

However, that in no way validates their alleged stance as the end all, be all in terms of judging the best in films every year – not that they ever proclaimed that themselves.

But it seems as though too many people hold the outcome of their awards show in too high of a regard, whereas the ceremony is just a fun little get together to have as a summation of the previous year in film (though you wouldn’t know how great of a year in film 2013 was by looking at this year’s list of nominees).

Ask anyone in Hollywood, and they’ll probably agree that the main goal of the show is just for a group of celebrities and filmmakers to gather each year and have a fun night together.

The list of nominees and eventual winners is really just a formality. The whole event is kind of like the Super Bowl of the film world.

To say nothing of the dozens of quality films that got completely ignored from this year’s lineup, if you’ve been following the Oscars for a while now, or just look over the list of films nominated in the major categories, it’s pretty easy to spot certain patterns and types of films which get the most love over things that maybe are more deserving of attention.

Only on especially rare occasions does the Academy ever go outside of its comfort zone and do something really unexpected.

A recent example of this would be last year’s nods towards ‘Amour’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, two films Joe Everyman probably never heard of beforehand and wouldn’t have ever known existed if not for their being among that year’s Best Picture lineup.

If you’ve taken a look at the most recent batch of nominees, this year seemed to be more of a return to form in terms of predictable sameness we’ve come to expect from these guys after so many years.

For instance, I wasn’t naive enough to expect the Academy to even acknowledge the existence of the NC-17 French language drama ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ (which is in this writer’s opinion, was the single best film to be released last year).

Of course they’d favor the safe and predicable choices over legitimately challenging stuff, but that’s to be expected.

Having too much emphasis on something different or unusual would detract from the main objective of a lightweight night of self-congratulatory merriment and celebration the program is typically associated with.

In the end, the Oscars are definitely something to be enjoyed, and worth revisiting every year, if only because of a sense of obligation as a film buff.

It goes without saying that people shouldn’t take them so seriously, nor should they let them dictate what winds up getting seen over something that might not have been widely recognized regardless.

All of that all being said, if Jennifer Lawrence beats Lupita N’yongo for Best Supporting Actress, I will flip every table in Millersville.

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