Why The Oscars don’t matter
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 15:03
This past Sunday night, Feb 24, many gathered around the television to view the 85th Annual Academy Awards.
This time of the year is known as awards season in Hollywood, with the Oscars being the ultimate ceremony. Many viewers at home enjoy the pre-show red carpet coverage, seeing celebrities they like, and marveling at their outfits.
Many also enjoy the horse race, and rooting for their favorite films to win as if it were the Super Bowl. But aside from receiving recognition in the form of a golden statue, what does winning really mean?
Art, which cinema is, is never a competition. In fact, the quality of any work of art is completely subjective, making words like “good,” “bad” or “best” completely meaningless in any discussion on the merits of one work or another.
Furthermore, one must judge a film as any work of art — on its own merits, and not those of another film.
Given how obsessed our culture is with review aggregators like RottenTomatoes.com, and weekly box office results in measuring a film’s success or failure, it is worth noting that there is no objective way of measuring the quality of any given film.
Everyone who sees a movie takes with them their own life experiences. For example, a theistic film like the Oscar winning “Life of Pi” might speak to someone in a crisis of faith much more than someone who is a staunch atheist.
Therefore, when a moviegoer states whether a movie was good or bad, it really says more about the viewer than the work. Box office results, critical responses, and awards only reflect popular opinion. And if we let consensus dictate which films are worthy, it becomes dumbed down, fast food.
So when you’re discussing the results of the Academy Awards, remember not to take it too seriously. Sure, it can have an impact on the careers and box office draw of the winners, but keep in mind that all it takes to make a film a genuine work of art is for one viewer to enliven it with meaning. Everything else is just glitz and glamour.
Trevor Tillman is a Tower staff writer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org