I’m a big film fan and the greater my interest in films has grown over the years, the more curious the Oscars nomination process appears to be. Each year the Oscar nominations are released and there’s always the occasional surprise and blatant snub for a poor actor or director who deserved a nomination.
Of course I am well aware not everyone can be shortlisted, otherwise it would be a longlist. But the Oscars have become well known for the unfair and ruthless campaigning by film studios to ensure their work receives an award. Making it near impossible for indie filmmakers to win ‘Best Picture’, take Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom for example.
Recently the selection process has been criticised (and quite fairly) by Joaquin Pheonix and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins, who is never one to mince his words said, “kissing the backside of the authorities can make or break it and it is disgusting to behold”, while Pheonix said the campaigning for films was “total, utter bullshit”. The actors are but two of many who are tired of the ‘buttering up’ of Academy members to ensure their votes.
It’s unfortunate that the awards ceremony is no longer (and may never have been) fair and I feel it brings less importance to the ceremony. Knowing the actors’ opinions of this makes it interesting to watch their expressions as they watch the films that do the most butt-kissing receive the award.
One actor who knows this feeling better than most is Leonardo DiCaprio, who missed out on a nomination this year for Django Unchained, he has previously been nominated for 3 Oscars but never won. The audience has been able to watch as DiCaprio grimaces and forces a smile through these award ceremonies, only to go home empty handed. Surely his performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape deserved a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ award.
There were many unlucky directors this year who missed out on nominations, Ben Affleck for instance. Christopher Nolan is also unlucky with the Oscars. The Dark Knight Rises grossed over $1 billion at the box office and although Nolan’s work has previously been nominated (2010’s Inception was nominated for Best Picture), Nolan is yet to be acknowledged with a ‘best director’ nomination. Though I’m totally aware how much a film earns doesn’t make it a ‘good film’, it’s hard to believe such a high grossing and successful film wouldn’t have a place in the ‘Best Picture’ category. Surely Nolan should have been recognized in some capacity.
What I’m asking is for some credibility to be brought back to the Oscars, if Academy members are essentially being bribed then don’t let them vote. Make the system fair for all films, why only allow one film per country to be submitted for ‘Best International Film’? If a country has two amazing films, let them submit them!
Whenever huge corporations are involved there are always going to be dodgy dealings to ensure success, lets just hope it can be minimised in future.