A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

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A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Pseudo Pop—Do award shows matter?

The Academy of Motion Pictures will hand an Oscar to the best film of the year—who cares?
Natalie+Portman+and+Julianne+Moore+star+in+May+December%2C+one+of+the+best+films+not+nominated+for+best+motion+picture.+Illustration+by+Anthony+Solorzano
Illustration by Anthony Solorzano
Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore star in “May December,” one of the best films not nominated for best motion picture. Illustration by Anthony Solorzano

Over the weekend, my friend was furious after hearing my take on the 2018 best picture winner “Green Book.” I called it one of the worst Best Picture winners in the history of the academy.

Since then, he’s tried to change my mind but I’ve held my ground. “Green Book” is a well-made film that relies on antiquated white savior tropes to tell the story of a gay, black musician during the 1960s. The movie doesn’t move the needle forward, leans into Black stereotypes and had already won best picture back in 1990 when “Driving Miss Daisy” took the award over Spike Lee’s snubbed masterpiece, “Do The Right Thing.”

 

Do award shows even matter nowadays?

No, they don’t. People should enjoy a film regardless of the accolades it did or did not receive. Award shows do not determine what films will have a cultural impact. The films that are nominated are typically very deserving and sometimes go un-watched by the public. Art is subjective and award shows should be seen as corporate ads for movies that expose people to thought-provoking cinema.

Every spring, a group of filmmakers from around the world hand a film the Oscar for best picture. The members work on different aspects of the filmmaking process. The academy used to nominate five films for the Best Picture category but changed it to 10 after “The Dark Knight ” was excluded in 2009. Sometimes they award the right film, sometimes they crown the wrong movie and other times the Academy of Motion Pictures leaves the best film of the year out of every nomination.

Films included in the nominations expose it to an audience that wouldn’t usually watch a movie about a Korean family sucking the life out of rich people. “Parasite” wouldn’t have become a signature film if it wasn’t for the fame that came from its Oscars triumphant wins.

After the outcry over #OscarsSoWhite and the travesty of “Green Book” winning over “Roma,” the academy has invited more filmmakers to join the group of voters. According to Vanity Fair, since 2023, the academy has had a 65% increase in voters. Most of the new voters include filmmakers from around the world, women and people of color due to an initiative started by the academy.

Dating back to 2019, the Academy has awarded Best Picture to “Nomadland,” a film directed by an Asian woman, “Parasite,” a Korean-speaking film, “CODA,” a film about the deaf community and “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” a genre film about a Chinese family. The academy has come a long way from having old, white men make the decisions.

But if your favorite movie of the year wasn’t nominated for best picture, don’t worry about it. Like what you like. If you thought “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” was an epic film that deserves all the acolytes in the world, don’t let the snub change your mind – do you.

Even if a pretentious douche like myself judges you for enjoying a Marvel movie past its prime era – do you. Even if your own mom mocks you for liking movies based on comic books you used to get bullied for liking – do you.

 

This year’s nominations for the best picture are a well-rounded eclectic group of films: “Anatomy of a Fall,” “The Zone of Interest,” “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” “American Fiction,” “Poor Things,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Maestro,” “The Holdovers” and “Past Lives.” The genres range from satire to biopics to historical dramas, yet one of the best films of the year walked away with just one nomination.

Todd Haynes’ “May December” is a cerebral film that satirizes Hollywood adaptations of real life events. The film holds a mirror up to biopics and amplifies the flaws in the translation of real-life events on film. The film also questions the moral conundrums that an actress pushes to the limits as they try to embody a person.

It sounds like the type of highbrow movie that usually gets nominated for Best Picture, but it was left out of all major categories except Best Original Screenplay. It’s directed by a renowned filmmaker and includes stars Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and rising star Charles Melton, but it was left out of all acting categories.

Does that mean that I will discredit the film for lacking more recognition? Of course not. I am going to watch it so many times that Netflix will have to start giving me an ad-free account to promote the film.

The Academy of Motion Pictures has disappointed me many times since I started watching the show. I started watching the Oscars when I was 10 years old. That’s when my obsession with pop culture grew to religious levels. Since then, the Oscars have dictated the types of films I watch. The Academy of Motion Pictures created a haughty monster with douchebag-level standards for films.

As I grew older, I loosened the strict criteria and slotted films that are not snobby into the viewing mix. I still try to watch the films that are nominated, but if you think I’m going to skip the Oscars because they snubbed one of the best of the year, think again. Award shows don’t matter, but that’s why God invented gambling.

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About the Contributor
Anthony Solorzano, Opinions Editor
Anthony Solorzano is the Opinions Editor. He has been pursuing journalism since he realized he hated his job. Anthony loves to tell stories using humor. He finds pop culture to be the truest form of pretentious art.

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