It’s that time of year again in Los Angeles. Make no mistake: awards are great for helping an individual’s career and bringing needed attention to a challenging, unusual, or overlooked work.
The Oscars are no exception.
However, the obsession about the Oscar Award Show needs to be reexamined. For starters, the Oscars don’t even cover their own industry fully because it takes money to even be given “For Your Consideration” status for nomination. That “little” film for which you might be rooting, isn’t as little as an actual little film which couldn’t raise the necessary funds for screenings or screeners. And, despite people feeling otherwise, the Oscar broadcast is not for the industry but for people outside the industry. It’s the same reason why the SAG awards are broadcast but none of the other union/guild awards are.
The ticket-buying public barely has a knowledge of directors and (lesser so) writers. Most people couldn’t tell you the name of a film editor or makeup artist — anymore than those inside the industry could name a single physicist or biologist or engineer who is presently publishing cutting-edge work. As far as the importance of various categories: film is the most technologically-dependent of all the art forms. Yet, for years, the Science and Tech Oscars have not even been part of the actual “real” ceremony — a high school replay of kicking the nerds to a table outside the hall from where the prom is.
It’s worth pointing out that the Nobel Prize award ceremony, which involves the people who, you know, actually cure cancer, fight climate change, and develop tech to improve human civilization, are not broadcast to the masses.
So, enjoy the show this Sunday. It’s the Super Bowl of Hollywood. And remember, most of those who watch the Super Bowl couldn’t tell you the opposing quarterbacks’ names a month prior. If that doesn’t convince you of anything, take solace in the fact most people can’t tell you the winning names — or nominations — of the Oscars from last year.
Other Hollywood-flavored essays:
ArcLight Cuts to Black
How to Accept an Oscar