So the Oscar nominations are out…and I was disappointed to say the very least…
First off, before I get into my rant, I have to say this: 2012 was an EXCELLENT year for movies. A lot of great original stuff as well as sequels that didn’t disappoint. In fact , I’d venture to say that Hollywood finally found the right balance between blockbuster sequels/remakes/popcorn flicks and thought-provoking original dramas. Let’s hope that they keep this balance moving forward.
So what’s my gripe, you’re asking? Simple – the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS – also known as the group responsible for the Oscars) seriously – and I mean SERIOUSLY needs to get out of the bubble that they are currently living in. Why do they find it so difficult to acknowledge even ONE film that is popular among the masses – the “common folk”, as I’m sure they refer to us as.
This is nothing new. In fact, Adolfo and I brought up this subject last year during our “Oscar-Mania” shows (which we will be bringing back this year). At least with last year’s crop of Best Picture nominees, there was at least one film that was equally popular with the critics and the masses – The Help (racism notwithstanding…)
But the crop of films that are up for Best Picture this year only illustrates how much the AMPAS couldn’t give two shits what “the people” think is popular. Here are the nominees:
Lincoln (haven’t seen it yet)
Les Miserables (haven’t seen it yet)
Argo (haven’t seen it yet)
Silver Linings Playbook (saw it yesterday – awesome)
Life of Pi (haven’t seen it yet)
Django Unchained (AWESOME…obviously…)
Zero Dark Thirty (seeing it tomorrow)
Amour (NEVER heard of it!)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (…WTF???)
Now I’m in no way, shape, or form saying that these are bad movies, especially since I’ve only seen 20% of them. But are they going to sit there and say that anybody really gives a rat’s ass about Amour? Or Beasts of the Southern Wild? I’m sure 90% of the movie-going public (a.k.a. the people that pay these snobs’ salaries) didn’t even know about these films until this morning.
I always thought that the reason as to why the AMPAS changed the format for the Best Picture category was to allow for more “populist” films to be acknowledged and recognized – a direct result to the backlash that came after The Dark Knight was snubbed for Best Picture in 2009, as well as the consistently-declining ratings for the Oscars telecast every year. Instead, the AMPAS seems to be using the new rule to simply nominate EVEN MORE OBSCURE films so they raise their noses up in the air and brag about how you have to be one of them to appreciate these “gems of cinema”.
There seems to be a misconception that just because a film is a “blockbuster” that there are no inherent qualities to it – basically, if people like a movie, then the critics hate it, and vice versa. Here are a few examples of 2012 films that SHOULD put that misconception to rest:
The Avengers (Box office: $1,511,757,910 worldwide / RT score: 92%)
The Dark Knight Rises (Box office: $1,081,041,287 worldwide / RT score: 87%)
Skyfall (Box office: $1,024,789,483 worldwide / RT score: 92%)
The Hunger Games (Box office: $686,534,290 worldwide / RT score: 85%)
The Amazing Spider-Man (Box office: $752,216,557 worldwide / RT score: 73%)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Box office: $829,517,281 worldwide / RT score: 65%)
The Cabin in the Woods (Box office: $66,486,080 worldwide / RT score: 92%)
Now granted, those last two aren’t the best examples of the point I’m trying to get across, but they are there for a reason: The Hobbit is currently ranked among the top 10 grossing films of 2012, despite the rather-low RT score; TCITW, on the other hand , had a low worldwide gross total, but an INCREDIBLE RT score – which, correct me if I’m wrong, has been the common criteria for many of the films nominated for Best Picture over the last 10 years or so…and yet TCITW was NOT nominated this morning???
Oh, and here’s one more slice for you: of all the films I just named, 6/7 are in the top 10 grossing films of 2012. And with the exception of two of those 6, their RT scores are at least 85% or higher.
So…moneymakers AND critically-acclaimed. You’d think they’d be shoo-ins for Best Picture, right? Right?
Bottom line: in no way am I trying say that none of the films nominated today deserve it; I’m sure that the 80% of them that I haven’t seen are great films. But the AMPAS needs to stop the bullshit. They need to stop claiming that they want more people to tune into the Oscars while simultaneously nominating films that only 5 people in the entire world have seen. But it’s their show, their awards ceremony after all. So they are free to do what they want. But I’d better not hear a PEEP out of anybody in the Academy after the Oscars about how the ratings for this year’s ceremony were so low that WWE Raw’s 2.5-3.0 ratings are leaving them in the dust. Maybe…just maybe…you trying nominating a film that the average movie-going public has actually heard of – you know, an actual blockbuster. But don’t just nominate any old blockbuster or nominate one just for the sake of it, but one that meets the criteria of both making money and being critically successful – like many of the films that I have just mentioned. That way, you are able to draw in the “average folk” that you claim to want to be tuning in to your awards show every year. But if they want to continue running the Oscars as an all-exclusive club of film snobs and douchebags, then nobody had better complain when NO ONE watches.