By Sofia Weddle
The Oscars have always been known as the crème de la crème of award season. Win a SAG? You get a pat on your back. Golden Globe? An applause. Nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award? Only the critics care.
When an actor receives that highly sought after Oscar invitation reminiscent of Charlie’s Golden Ticket, they have won a lifetime into film society. The Oscars are more than a never-ending red carpet filled to the brim with celebrities, paparazzi, and Ryan Seacrests. Each invitation holds with it a weight that most of the world could only dream of: eternal stardom.
In past years, however, the Oscars have continually fallen short. Viewership is down by the millions, every joke seems to fall flat or halfway inappropriate, and the movies nominated have only been watched by the ostentatious film snobs of the world. Katie Morrogh, a Senior at Glenelg, says, “None of the pictures that I like or watched will win. Also, the Oscars always gets political, which I don’t find entertaining to watch.” Most people tap out after Best Picture is announced, which usually ends up being a movie forgotten within a week after its win. Remember The Hurt Locker? Argo? Birdman? If you do, have you watched it more than once?
Nowadays, the Academy prides itself on being “deep” and choosing immensely metaphorical film storylines as the best of the best. Most movies chosen to grace the nomination lists for the Oscars represent feigned interest in what is assumed to be profound. Olivia Kavadias, a Senior at Glenelg, says that, “Best Picture isn't just about the storyline. It’s about the actors, the music, the set, and everything that makes it a great film.” The Oscars are meant to showcase the best films, performances, production, designs, music, and more of the year. But at past Oscars, it seems to have been the opposite. Chrissy Teigen couldn’t even help falling asleep at the 2017 Oscars.
Movies are, at their foundation, meant to entertain an audience. After all, we are the ones paying $15 for some 2-hour screen time. The films winning, however, don’t reflect that. Why did the romance between a loch ness monster-like creature and a maid win film of the year? Ask the Academy. Iconic films such as The Breakfast Club, Pride & Prejudice, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Big, Fight Club, and Dirty Dancing have been completely ignored by the Best Picture nomination. Sara Michalski, a Senior at Glenelg, “Critics have different opinions than the public. Both opinions are important and both should be taken into consideration when judging Best Picture.” Many worthy, world-wide beloved movies are nominated for Best Picture, but they hardly ever win. Avatar, The Sixth Sense, and The Help are each beloved and continuously rewatched, but they failed to procure the golden statue himself. Instead, the following titles managed to make the acceptance speeches: The Hurt Locker, American Beauty, The Artist. To some, these films may be favorites. However, none of them have had an entire theme park based around its storyline. Only Avatar received that honor, but it lost Best Picture.
Of course, every Oscar year is not made equal. The Shawshank Redemption was nominated for and won 0/7 awards, but 1995 was also the year of Forrest Gump, The Lion King, Pulp Fiction, Speed, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. 1995 was a pretty fantastic year for the film industry. Namely, 2019 is working up to be the turning point of award season. Black Panther, a game changer for diversity in the film world, has received utter praise for its Best Picture nomination. Roma, Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star is Born, and more have all been deemed deserving by actual movie-goers. Senior Alemaan Khan believes that, “This year has been much more impressive movie-wise. I have actually seen most of this year’s Oscar nominees, so maybe the Oscars is actually listening to our opinions on movies now.” Maybe the end of a disappointing Oscar era is near. Maybe this year will bring a winner that the world truly admires. Maybe 2019 will plant a true cult classic in history.
The Oscars are a place of dreams, beauty, elegance, and everlasting fountains of champagne. It is an event filled with legacies: The Godfather, Roman Holiday, Titanic. Yet, we are left with a recent decade of of Best Pictures that hardly live up to their ancestors’ precedents. This year may be the one that changes that. With a lineup of truly meaningful films in the running for Best Picture, the Oscars could finally return to their state of grace. One can only hope that the world won’t end up with another Best Picture about alien romance.