Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Oscar Narrative: Why I Love the Oscars

Someone recently asked me this: Why do you love the Oscars so much? This may sound strange, but no one has actually ever asked me that question. It kind of caught me of guard. Why do I love the Oscars? Yes, the Oscars are too white, too old, too male, and often they simply miss the boat. My two favorite films of the year are Inside Out and Star Wars, neither of which were nominated for Best Picture. So I should be mad, right? I am upset that no black actors were nominated this year. I am upset that my two favorite films missed out on that top prize. But in the end that is not what The Oscars are about. I hear people say, "The Oscars never get it right", or "my favorite film never wins, so they must be wrong". The Oscars are not about right or wrong. They are a group of people, just like any other group, that pick the films they like. They may not be your favorites, but they are their favorites. They are human, they are subjective, and to judge them too harshly is hypocritical. For the record, they don't always get it right. How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane. Going My Way over Double Indemnity. An American in Paris over A Streetcar Named Desire. Kramer vs. Kramer over Apocalypse Now. Ordinary People over Raging Bull. Chariots of Fire over Raiders of the Lost Ark. Out of Africa over The Color Purple. Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas. The English Patient over Fargo. But for every time they get it wrong, they also get it right. It Happened One Night won Best Picture, so did Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives, All About Eve, On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Apartment, West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, The Sound of Music, Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, Terms of Endearment, Platoon, The Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindler's List, American Beauty, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, The King's Speech, and Birdman. In the end, I don't watch the Oscars because I think they are the be all, end all of movies. I don't watch the Oscars because I think it is always a perfect awards ceremony. If you want a perfect awards ceremony, watch the Tonys. The Oscars are too long and they always have eye-rolling stunts to draw in viewers that make most of us groan. I love the Oscars because I love film. I think that film has the power to draw in people and transport them to another world. Film has the power to strike at our emotions, to make us laugh, cry, feel. Film has the power to touch our souls, to make us think. To quote my friend Xina: "Film can be literature". Whether you agree with the Oscar choices or not, every year for 88 years, the Oscars have celebrated film. They put film on a platform, where millions of people around the world can tune in. They make people listen, they encourage people to go to a theater, and experience film as it should be experienced. I love film. I think it is our most powerful medium, and I think that it has produced some of the greatest works of art in human history. So this year, as every year, I will watch the Oscars start to finish. I will cheer the winners I like, and boo the ones I don't. I will celebrate film as it deserves to be celebrated. And as the final credits role, I will reflect on 2015 in film. And then I will move on. #Oscars2017 will call my name. A new year will dawn, a new Oscar race will emerge. And this time next year, as is the case every year, I will once again celebrate film. I am now a full time library technician, and a part time graduate student. I leave work, and work on school work. My time is precious. I cannot think of a more endearing use of what little free time I have, than to watch brilliant films, write about brilliant films, and celebrate the magic of the movies.

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