Rob here. As long as we're thinking about The Oscars (and when aren't we?), and are at the cusp of awards season I thought I'd pop out a few thoughts here. More and more I'm starting to dislike The Oscars.
Don't get me wrong, I still watch. But now more than ever, movies are forever defined by The Academy Awards. Do we want to see upcoming movies like Revolutionary Road and Milk because they look great or to see how they fit into the upcoming Oscar race. Take a movie like Brokeback Mountain. It is forever defined as the movie that lost to Crash. The actual quality and historical significance of the movie is almost a footnote.
And who do we blame for this? The studios who saw a marketing opening and cater all of their quality films to the Oscars? The oodles of associations who've jumped onto the awards bandwagon thus making Oscar season into a marathon? Ourselves? When we watch a trailer is our curious response, "will it be good?" or "will it be nominated?" When we watch a movie do we consider more whether a performance qualifies for our personal Oscars or how well it actually contributes to the experience of the film?
I know I do these things. I can tell you my Best Whatever winners for each year. I can give you my personal predictions for this year. I get wrapped up in it. But each time I hear a lazy critic describe a great performance as Oscar-worthy, each time a film friend of mine watches an old movie and gives me their "nominations" in lieu of any real opinion, I shudder a little more and more.
I wonder what a year would be like without the Oscars. Hypothetically, if all the releases stayed the same but without The Academy Awards? How would we, collectively react to all of the years movies without caring that they'd be vying for the title of "best"? Would it make things better? Maybe not, but I doubt it could hurt.
Later Jonathan will present the pro-Oscar argument (in the pursuit of being, you know, fair and balanced)