With the Oscar nominations being announced last week, we’ve all got our word in and explained what the Oscars got wrong, as well as what we would personally have nominated. Though it’s the most prestigious film awards show on the planet, do the Oscars really matter? Obviously, in a fiscal sense, an Oscar-winning film is certainly likely to do better business on home video or in countries where it hasn’t yet been released, and there’s no denying that the Oscars matter to the people involved – as their profile will see a significant boost – but on a basic level, they shouldn’t really matter to us. They’re certainly not worth the bile-spilling that we all – myself included – indulge in after the nominations are announced, and again after the winners are, decrying those who were wrongly awarded and championing those who perhaps didn’t even scoop a nomination.
It’s an arbitrary, subjective evaluation that’s deeply flawed as the ceremony’s history has dictated, and now, I’m going to explain why.
Here are 10 reasons the Oscars don’t matter.
10. Ridiculous Qualification Guidelines
While it’s all well and good that “rules are rules”, some of the Academy’s qualification guidelines are troubling to say the least; while the simple requirement for a film to be screened during LA or New York for at least a week within the year seems fair enough, some of their other requirements for the films and for voters themselves are, frankly, absurd. Steve James’ documentary masterpiece Hoop Dreams infamously missed out on a Best Documentary nomination in 1995 because of a ridiculous selection process that reportedly had voters flashing a light onto the screen when they were fed up with the film, which reportedly resulted in it being switched off after only around ten minutes. This shock snub saw the process revised, though even in the last two years, classics such as Senna, Into the Abyss and The Imposter have inexplicably missed out.
A lot of the problem is that branches such as Documentary and Foreign Film require voters to attend Academy-branded screenings in order to be eligible to vote, so surely, plenty of people saw Senna or The Imposter on home video before voting, and so, ironically, its popularity may well have worked against it, as voters didn’t want to attend a screening just so they can arbitrarily register their interest in the film.
Other absurd decisions have included The Dark Knight’s score being disallowed for having too many composers on the slate, various films and crew members being disqualified or called out for campaigning directly to Oscar voters, and perhaps most ludicrously, Tron was disqualified from the Visual Effects category because apparently using computers was a form of cheating. Oh, snap.
This article was first posted on January 17, 2013