Oscars? Fuck that.

There’s a move right now among black members of Hollywood to boycott the Oscars because there wasn’t a single black nominee this year. On one level, this situation is a reflection of how Hollywood treats black people in general. So I get the urge to boycott. And apparently so does the academy, because they’ve just rolled out a new plan to make the academy and the process more diverse.

To which I say, too little, too late.

Let’s say things do change. If I was a black actor who won an Oscar at some future time, I’d stop and wonder: “Did I win because my performance was good, or because they need to get more black people on the stage?” It’s a lose/lose.

And really, on an entirely different level, who gives a shit what the academy thinks? It’s a shadowy organization with secretive membership. If you don’t even know who’s on the academy, how can it have any value? And speaking of value, an Oscar has zero. And I can prove it.

Nicolas Cage won an Oscar. What the hell was the last good thing he ever made? Need I remind anyone of this:

Meanwhile, you know who’s never won an Oscar. Harrison Ford. Great actor. One of the greatest of all time. He’s Han Solo, Indiana Jones, AND Jack Ryan for fuck’s sake. And hello, Blade Runner?! Compare every performance Nicolas Cage has ever done to every one of Ford’s and tell me which one is the better actor with the better body of work. And then look at which one has an Oscar.

Here’s list of other people who have never won an Oscar:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Gary Oldman
  • Samuel L Jackson
  • Bill Murray
  • Gene Wilder
  • Steve McQueen

And a bazillion other people. And, again, to really nail in this point, Ben Affleck has won an Oscar. The guy who made Gigli, which gave us a whole movie full of moments like these:

And, again, because I cannot emphasize this enough, Ben Affleck and Nicolas Cage have Academy Awards, and somehow none of the following was “Oscar” material:

So you’ll have to forgive me if I hold the academy with the same esteem I would hold a rotten turd. And that, in my opinion, is the only way to hold them, both for us as an audience and for the actors themselves.

If films really are an art form, then all of us are critics, so the opinions of a select few backroom Hollywood hobnobs means nothing. And if you’re an actor, which is more important to you: what the public and your fans think about your movies, or what the academy thinks about them?

So yes, the Oscars have a problem with race, but the Oscars are also an incredible stupid institution that shouldn’t have any bearing on anything, racism or not.



4 thoughts on “Oscars? Fuck that.

  1. I agree that the way in which the academy makes decisions is strange. There is also sorts of discrimination in the arts, gender discrimination is a big one as well. I don’t think a female has to wonder though the next time they get their stuff in a museum whether or not they deserved it or not, but rather that they now occupy an equal space with men. Certainly while it’s possible that at any given time all the greatest performances were all by white actors. And I’m okay with that as long as there is also some point in time when all the best performances were by black actors. That has yet to happen. But in terms of accolades whether it is having your art displayed at a prestigious museum or getting an award ultimately it really is hard to pick one winner. It’s a subjective process and there are always many who probably deserved it. So when we have such celebrations of great art (theatrical performance, music, art) perhaps we should also be celebrating diversity. Because it is impossible to say whose performance was “best”. It’s always open to interpretation. I think in the future a black actor can honestly say that if they are chosen that they were among the best. And I think that’s all any actor now, in the past or ever can say when they win. I think most people in the movies know that. At least I hope they do. It might be an honor to get the award, but I think they understand the difficulties of really saying their performance was the best given the wide range of genres and characters the actors portray. It’s not like running a marathon where someone definitely crosses the finish line first.

    Personally I think Nicholas Cage deserved the award for Leaving Las Vegas. That doesn’t change the fact that he has been in some shitty shitty movies. But there could be a lot of reasons for that, that don’t include his talent. He could just be a complete asshole. He could have a gambling problem and just needs the cash. Peter O’Toole was a great actor but after Lawrence of Arabia his alcoholism was too much for many directors to work with. Personally there is only one performance where I thought Harrison Ford’s role was Oscar worthy and that was The Mosquito Coast. I think he does have the ability to act well but I feel like he was often cast in roles where his character was fairly flat and rarely played dynamic characters. Not that I don’t enjoy his movies, and I do think he is an artist, but never took on those movies with very complicated roles. He is always sort of the same guy. But then again it’s just my opinion and it always will be whoever is doing the selection process. There are far too many great performances in one year to determine who is the winner in my opinion. What really annoys me about the academy is that they often pass over actors who have performances of a lifetime to give an award to somebody who maybe didn’t have their best role, but because they passed the over so many times before they feel like they have to give them one now before it’s too late! So it’s clear to me that the Academy really isn’t using the performance in that particular movie as their only criteria.

    That being said, boycott away, and just watch some good movies. I just use the Golden Globes, Academy Words, Sundance Film festival etc to just alert me to some movies I might want to see!

    1. All completely fair points. Personally, I think that Ford’s “everyman” persona is part of his charm and appeal.

      As for whether or not accolades and prestige mean anything, I suppose I’ll leave that up to the artists themselves. For the audience, I’m sure we all enjoy the movies themselves more than the ceremony.

  2. Maybe I don’t pay attention most years, but it’s weird how much attention this story is getting right now. I thought everyone was well aware of how the Oscars work after Streep got her 45th nomination. There is no diversity in any way. It’s not just white, black, brown, etc. The same people get nominated every other year.
    As for the Academy, I don’t know. I think this is mainly a cultural issue and people are pointing at an easy target to lay the blame. How many movies came out last year with a black lead? That’s not the academy. that’s what studios do because it’s what they think people want, or what makes them the most money. The Oscars is just the simplest thing to hell about.

    1. Excellent point about Streep! I hadn’t thought about that before.

      I’ve heard that studios heavily lobby the academy, which makes the whole thing even dumber in my opinion. And it might also explain why the same people keep popping up–studios have their money making stars and Oscar buzz usually increases box office return.

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