The Oscar Offenses

Another year, another Oscars. This time there wasn’t a host (thank god). The Academy almost cut out Best Cinematography and Best Editing from the broadcast but then they didn’t. They also nominated at least four movies for Best Picture that shouldn’t have been on there and there were wrong decisions made for awards (again), but we’ll get to that in a little bit. It was a bizarre ceremony this year. The Academy is clearly trying to move away from art films and trying to incorporate more crowd-pleasing films at the expense of integrity. So without further introduction, here is another recap of why the Oscars were a joke (again).

Chapter 1: Most of the award choices

Bohemian Rhapsody got Best Editing? I mean, I suppose it’s a miracle the film even got made into something coherent after all the production drama behind the scenes. There should be a separate Oscars category for those films that manage to get made despite going through a production nightmare. But besides that, you’re gonna give a film that cuts 100 times in two minutes the award for Best Editing? To be fair, it’s not like the category was stacked in the first place, with Vice and Green Book both being very annoying films that didn’t have good editing. Did the Academy forget what good editing looks like? Is that why they wanted to move the category off screen to the commercials?

Besides editing, there weren’t any other technical awards that particularly aggravated me. Black Panther won more awards than it should have, and there were better films in each category that deserved the award more, but I was fine that it won. I was indifferent to most of the actor and actress wins. Olivia Colman’s win was my favorite, and she gave one of my favorite speeches ever. Alfonso Cuarón, my idol, got three awards that night for Roma, including Best Director, and those were the best decisions of the night. BlacKkKlansman shouldn’t have won Best Adapted Screenplay, but Spike Lee finally getting an award was long overdue. There were many other films that deserved nominations that didn’t get any, but that’s not a surprise.

But the two worst wins of the night, and maybe two worst wins in the last ten years, go to Green Book’s wins for Best Screenplay and Best Picture.

Chapter 2: Green Book

This movie was bad. It was repetitive, boring, cliche, cookie cutter Oscar bait that did not deserve any of the praise it got. It wasn’t shot well. It wasn’t edited well. It was paced terribly. The acting was good, but that was all in the performance and not in the weak direction. It handled the subject matter with the subtlety of a train derailing. This was the worst film in the list of eight films nominated for Best Picture. To top it off, Don Shirley’s family said the film was inaccurate. Why does the Academy think they’ve solved racism with simplistic films like Green Book? Why do films like Green Book always portray racism as individual instances rather than a systemic issue that individuals perpetuate? It’s embarrassing that works of art like Roma that handle social and class issues much more subtly are swept aside in favor of the more obvious, vanilla, and plain films like Green Book. I shouldn’t be surprised by their choice, but given that there were better choices in the Best Picture and Best Screenplay categories that were more favored, Green Book is a baffling choice and it will go down as one of the worst Best Picture winners.

Chapter 3: The honest truth about awards shows

Awards shows are pretty irrelevant and useless, and they don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. For the most part, it’s not a celebration of achievements in film. If it were, Green Book wouldn’t have won Best Picture or Best Screenplay, and many other films would be nominated for awards. Films that are truly great works of art, like Roma and The Favourite, will be remembered for that. They will be studied, referenced, and recommended for years and years to come. There are many timeless films that exist that never won an award, like The Shawshank Redemption. That just shows how much these awards don’t matter.

The only reason I watch the Oscars are because I’ve watched most of the films nominated, so I feel some sense of obligation to see what wins. Otherwise, there is no real reason to watch it. Maybe one day the Academy will come to their senses and get experts in each category to curate actual lists for the best of the best in each category. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.