Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Oscars: for they for real?

It's January, which means its time for film awards. Film awards, depending on whom you ask are either hokey popularity shows or prestigious lifetime achievements. Although some awards ceremonies have gone downhill as more Americans tire of all the unnecessary glitz and glamour, Hollywood still holds on this tradition like a small child holds on to his mother's pants leg. Award shows are Hollywood's pats on the back.

There is one American statue, however, that seems to hold more weight than, say, your average Golden Globe: The Oscar.

It's art deco design demands a classical respect from whomever cannot get their hands on one. Holding one is a common fantasy of all filmmakers, Hollywood or Indie. Nevertheless, Oscars are reserved for those who have achieved rare cinematic prestige, or at least those who have received the most press.

Enter Heath Ledger. One year ago, the electrifying actor was found with a lethal cocktail of legal drugs in his system. He was the main topic of discussion at Sundance 2008. This year, as everyone knows, he is up for Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Hollywood loves young tragedy, so of course, he will receive this award. While Ledger's Joker makes Jack Nicholson's Joker look like a clown at a six-year-old's birthday party, one must one's self: would Ledger be a contender for this Oscar if he were alive?

Also enter Martin Scorsese. Last year, Marty finally won an Oscar for The Departed after being passed over too many times. Not wanting to make the same mistake as with Hitchcock, the Academy essentially granted him his Oscar for his past work.

Oscar also seems to follow this particular formula: Major awards go to arthouse films almost no one saw, and technical Oscars (sound mixing, art direction, special FX) go to those who do it best: Hollywood blockbusters. While people cry and moan over Dark Knights' "oscar snub," I wonder, "why did people expect this film to be an Oscar contender?" Oscar likes to avoid blockbusters in an attempt to appear to look classy. But with the scandals Hollywood places itself into these days, doesn't it almost seems hypocritical?

Whatever. Cinema is always a business and awards are good advertising. Enjoy the Oscar nominees. I'm sure all the nominees will enjoy their moment. I wish them luck.

Happy Filmmaking.

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