My longtime issues with the Academy

The travesty of Brokeback Mountain losing the Best Picture award is only another frustration to add to a long list already with the Oscars. I have a love/hate relationship with the Oscars in that I desperately want the best movie/actor to get their deserved award but then again I also think the Academy is full of political crap. I wish I could say they always pick the most deserving person or movie for each award but I think we all know by now *cough Brokeback Mountain* that this is not always the case.

Let’s take a short trip back to 19—when Edward Norton was up for Best Supporting Actor for Primal Fear (mind you this was his first role ever) and lost to Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive. I was embarrassed watching them give the “prestigious” award to Tommy Lee Jones when we all knew his role in The Fugitive was pretty much run-of-the-mill. He played a cop, chasing a fugitive…he must have really had to transform himself to play that role. Edward Norton, despite being so young and new, gave one of the best performances of that year. You couldn’t deny it if you saw him in Primal Fear. As I see it they gave it to Tommy Lee Jones because he was a veteran, case closed.

I also can’t forget from 19—when Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape where he played a mentally retarded person so well you can barely tell it was even Leonardo in the role. Leo lost the award to Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry MGuire and I would really love for someone to explain that one to me. What did Cuba do in that movie that made it award worthy? Please tell me. Was it the line “Show me the money!” or his speech to Jerry about not sleeping with single mothers?

So here’s hoping I can learn my lesson soon and realize that obviously the Oscars aren’t too be taken too seriously. The Golden Globes seem to be the award ceremony that knows it’s stuff but then again I think in the end most actors really just want that golden statue and because it’s that important to most of them it ends up being important to us.

10 Comments

  1. Byron

    March 7, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    Remember the days when the Golden Globes were considered less reputable? Isn’t only in the last 7-10ish years that they have pulled themselves up? It’s too bad that the awards are so arbitrary to filmmaking, but it’s hard to deny that their economic impact is huge – actors’ salaries jump because of them, studios can brag and potentially get more funding, directors get more recognition and potentially more jobs, etc. It’s funny that while the Oscars are political and our choices are informed by our personal politics, but voting really comes down to what we’ve all been arguing about – choosing movies and people we like. Lord knows that likeable movies are not always about political statements or political struggles. Sometimes it’s just about popularity and personal preferences. Choosing Crash over Brokeback is not a statement about race versus homosexuality anymore than it is about choosing Dior over Givenchy for Charlize Theron.

  2. Robin

    March 7, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    Well put Byron, thanks for commenting and putting in more than 2 cents there. I would idealy like the Oscars to not mean as much as time goes on. In the end my list of favorite movies of all time has nothing to do with what was nominated or what won Oscars. I don’t think Donnie Darko won anything 😉

  3. Brian

    March 7, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    Don’t forget Robin, art is completely subjective and giving awards to art and artists is just fundamentally wrong. Also, everytime the Academy blows an award like they did this year, they get TONS of press which is great for them. It keeps people talking about the movies, which is what they want.

    That being said, Crash is the worst movie ever to win best picture in my opinion. I’ve never watched a best picture winner and walked away saying “I really didn’t like that.” Crash was the first.

    😆 Great Cuba Gooding Jr. comment 😆

  4. Robin

    March 7, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    True Brian, I guess I just get so wrapped up in it and feel like I have some kind of personal investment in it so therefore I want to see it get the highest praise. It’s silly though and in the end it really doesn’t mean anything.

    Glad you enjoyed the Cuba Gooding Jr. part 😛

  5. Michelle

    March 7, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    Ed Norton is one of my fav actors. He was brilliant in Primal Fear. Have to agree with you about the politics…..crazy, these awards should be like the Olympics and keep politics out!!

  6. sHa shinizzle

    March 8, 2006 at 9:19 am

    They just don’t have the balls to crown Brokeback Mountain as the best picture. Shesshhh.

    Enough said.

    *sulking*

  7. musings

    March 8, 2006 at 10:36 am

    I would like to direct your attention to the more fun ceremonies of SAG and Spirit Awards. All the rest including the Golden Globes (although much less than Oscar, Grammy et al), are tinged with favoritism, classism and all the ugly things we don’t want to think about the entertainment industry.

    I’ve been mulling over what George Clooney said in his acceptance speech…about how he’s proud to be part of the “out of touch” community. The more I think about it, the more I cringe in thinking it was a brown-nosing statement and looking how the evening progressed, really embarassing. I mean, c’mon, Reese Witherspoon??? 😯

  8. Robin

    March 8, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Musings – I wouldn’t put it past George Clooney. I think, for me, I’ve been put a little too much emphasis on the Oscars ever since American Beauty (my favorite movie ever) won oodles of Oscars. I felt like yes, it deserved the highest praise! This year though has brought me back to reality, I hope.

  9. musings

    March 8, 2006 at 10:56 am

    What reality is that? I mean American Beauty is definitely one of my top ten films, but I don’t know that it is comparable to any kind of “statement” that was being made by choosing Crash over Brokeback or Phillip Seymour Hoffman over others. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what was nominated alongside American Beauty…would be interesting to compare.

  10. Robin

    March 8, 2006 at 10:57 am

    I didn’t mean to compare anything I was just saying that I was so excited when American Beauty won that I think I forgot how much crap the Academy really is.

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