Opinion Piece – The Oscars Have Lost the Plot

Piece by Eddie on 24/01/2019

It’s official people, the Oscars have lost the plot.

I’m hopeful that I don’t come across as a stark raving mad movie fan, but this year’s recent announcement of Oscar nominations has sadly showcased that Hollywoods night of night’s is no longer nominating film’s that deserve these type of awards, but films that people think deserve them due to popular opinion.

It’s not like politics and behind the scenes wheeling and dealing hasn’t had effects on past ceremony’s but there are some glaringly obvious nominations in this year’s Oscar field that just sadly shouldn’t be there.

Picking easy targets, there’s no more obvious examples than this than in the fact when you scour the Best Picture field you’re quickly drawn to Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody.

You may look twice to see if First Reformed, First Man, Eighth Grade or If Beale Street Could Talk are on that list to but that is not to be the case.

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A fun film, Black Panther still shouldn’t be in the Best Picture race

After year’s of dwindling viewership and lagging interest, the Academy last year announced they were introducing the Popular Film Category that caused an outcry of disapproval that lead to its scrapping before it even began but with these such nominations it appears as though the Academy members are going right on ahead with their plans by picking these such mainstream popular film’s in such a revered category.

To be clear, I personally think Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are perfectly entertaining film’s and film’s that are pitch perfect in their delivery for their intended audiences but in all honesty, there is nothing truly outstanding about either of these two film’s in particular, even if there’s nothing wrong at all about popular film’s being a major part of the Oscars, if they deserve it!

Black Panther for instance is a genuinely cookie-cutter Marvel film outside of the fact it features a mainly African-American cast and a unique setting, does the fact that this entertaining popcorn film features a non-white ensemble automatically make it a Best Picture candidate? I would even argue that Black Panther wasn’t the best Marvel film from last year when weighed up against the equally risky Avengers: Infinity War, it’s just that that films risks and boundary pushing was in storytelling, not casting.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a whole different ballgame. A biopic 101 that will get your feet tapping and your Spotify’s set to Queen’s greatest hits, the Bryan Singer directed musical drama is an imminently watchable feature that has some great cinematic fun at its core in its recreation of Queen’s musical prowess but it’s not a great film outside of this and most certainly not a film that should be considered one of the best made films of the last 12 months!

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A true snub, Eighth Grade should’ve at the very least received a screenplay nomination

This of course is all personal opinion and maybe I am alone in my sentiments but it’s both sad and shocking that it appears as though now genuinely unique, well-made and moving pictures are now being shut out by the fact they’re just simply not popular enough to be in this field, not topical enough or even worse not “cool” enough in the public’s eye for the Academy voters to feel comfortable supporting.

Whatever is going on behind the scenes at the moment we may never know but one thing is for sure; the Oscar’s now face an uphill battle to remain relevant, even though what they’re doing appears to be their last ditch effort to do just that, sadly at the cost of filmmaker’s and film’s that deserve the Academy’s love and attention.

How do you feel about this year’s Oscar nominations? Happy, sad, angry? Whatever your thoughts, leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.

44 responses to “Opinion Piece – The Oscars Have Lost the Plot

    • See I like some of those films but you’re right there’s been some average Best Picture winners!
      I just feel like this year’s batch of nominees is a fairly embarrassing culmination of the year in film.
      E

  1. I think that you have a point, but personally I’ve never really cared much for the Oscars. It’s a fun period because everyone talks about movies, but the awards don’t mean a thing.

  2. After last year, it’s pretty obvious that the Oscars are more determined to make a statement than to actually celebrate the quality of movies. Granted “BlackkKlansman” may actually be my movie of last year, that and Spider-Man, I find the snubbing of “Three Identical Strangers” to be as loud a statement as that of what is nominated. I’ll comment a little more on that in my own entry. I find that overall “Infinity War” is better than “Black Panther” and reviews for “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Vice” have been meh. So it’s more about what they’re political statement in a volatile environment.

    • I don’t think your to far off the mark mate. It’s a shame its more about statements and meeting perceived public pressures the rewarding the films and people behind them that deserve it!
      E

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. “personally think Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are perfectly entertaining film’s and film’s that are pitch perfect in their delivery for their intended audiences but in all honesty, there is nothing truly outstanding about either of these two film’s in particular…”
    I feel the same way.

  4. I haven’t seen bohemian yet, a lot of my friends seem to like it and say “oh they got that live aid scene shot for shot!” Which I don’t personally feel makes something good, replicating a performance is not award worthy, if someone dances like Beyoncé and puts it on YouTube it’s impressive but…you know, not academy worthy.

    I actually enjoyed hearing the news that the academy were open to a popular category but I thought the name of it was a misstep and probably why it was shelved. Popular films deserve to be recognised (hello; comedy) and I 100% agree that while Black Panther was fantastic and the representation was a milestone, Avengers was certainly better and had better performances (it would have been better if T’Challa actually had died and Shuri, Okoye and Nakia had stepped up into the protagonist position)

    My favourites for this year are The Favourite and Roma 😁😁

    • I loved Roma and enjoyed the Favourite also.

      I’d be very happy for Roma to win the night’s big awards.

      I think what you said about Rhapsody is exactly right, its nice everything was recreated so thoughtfully and in a polished way but as a film it really was nothing special. Just a nice reminder that Queen made some awesome music and that Mercury was a one in a million talent.
      E

  5. I completely agree. You could not have put it clearer. It seems the Academy now is grasping at straws and afraid to lose its “popularity” or “relevance” completely, hence the nomination for Bohemian Rhapsody (“hey, everyone likes Queen” thinking).
    Its decisions have been more or less political in the last years, so we should not be surprised that “politics first and film merit second” is now its motto. The Academy thinks it should first “save themselves” (through popular opinion support), and then think about what film they may allegedly “hurt” or overlook by their nomination.
    Lucrecia Martel, the director of “Zama”, rightly said that “Oscars are a joke”, and Todd Haynes (“Carol”) said that “Oscars do not define what a great movie is”. This is more true now than ever. I am not even bothered anymore to comment in my blog on the Academy decisions or nominations, or post anything Oscar-related. Simply pointless. A waste of time, really.

    • It’s gotten to that point now mate. A real shame. I use to really anticipate their nominations and then to see who would come out on top on the night, this will be the first time in year’s that I don’t even tune in! It’s just a farce now really.
      E

  6. Agree! I guess they really need that New Category after all (Best Popular Film) they should have go on with it and see what happens. Now, with the nominations in hand, I guess that category is important for the developmement of the ceremony in future years, since three of the blockbuster films of the year “A Star is Born”, “Black Panther” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” lead the nominations.

    • Your right I think mate. At least that may mean there is the chance other more deserving films can make it into categories they should be in! I think its gone to far now though, I for one feel like the whole brand has been tarnished beyond repair.
      E

    • Yep! It’s great to see other’s out there expressing their opinion to mate as it feels like other industry types are to afraid to call things out.
      E

  7. The most egregious omission is “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. That film was practically a mystical experience. It should have been nominated for Best Picture, and it wasn’t even nominated for Best Documentary. (Why do they assume documentaries can’t be the best picture of the year? If it has to be a narrative film, why don’t they say Best Narrative Picture?)

    I’m also surprised at how many people thought that Infinity War was a great movie. So boring! They’re lucky the trailer for Endgame was the best trailer Marvel’s ever released, otherwise I’d have no desire whatsoever to see it. Now I’m mildly curious.

    • Oh yes I can’t believe Neighbor missed out! I honestly thought this was a shoe in!
      So many odd choices.
      For me the worst omission, how did the score for First Man not even get nominated! It was a magical music score.
      E

  8. We gave up on awards shows a long time ago, the highest achievement a film can win is your own approval. There is a great video on Youtube on Harvey Weinstein and how Shakespeare In Love won the Best Picture that gives a great insight into how the Academy is a well oiled capitalist machine.

    • Judging how they’ve been turning out lately that is a wise decision!

      Oh mate Shakespeare in Love, what a campaign Weinstein ran there, how it won Best Picture in that year is just one of the great cinematic tragedies.
      E

  9. Yeah, guess I’d agree that the Oscars have lost the plot. In fairness, I think it’s an impossible task that as the output of the media landscape has become overwhelming and with films being created and distributed to niche markets there really is no consensus anymore.
    Can’t please everyone but the oscars have “lost the plot” in that they don’t have an identity and it’s leaving everyone frustrated. To me Oscars were sort of the film “literature” in that it excels in both story and execution and while there was good books to enjoy they may not meet the criteria to be literature. This year exemplifies maybe due to backlash and low ratings a weird mixture of crowd-pleasers (Black Panther, BR), and hyper-oscar purists (Roma, Green Book) and even middleground (Blackkklansman, A Star is Born) that everyone has the same reaction as when their food is touching.
    Personally I wish more films got nominated to showcase more flavors of great filmmaking across the year, but someone always has to get left out. I haven’t seen enough of the films to have a strong opinion but I think Roma winning extending an acceptance to International and streamed films could be a good thing to come out of this year’s awards.

    • I would be very content if Roma was to walk away with the big awards from this year’s ceremony!
      I think the craft and heart on display in that film is not to be found in similar nominees in its fields.
      E

  10. Im just happy melissa mccarthy is finally getting the recognition she deserves. One of hollywoods finest and a real treasure for the industry

    • I just wish she had been nominated earlier! I mean she was Oscar worthy in The Happytime Murders but maybe some of her earlier work in The Identity Thief or Spy.
      E

  11. I’m in line with you. I feel that movies that are most salient are getting unnecessary nominations. I’m still annoyed that Eighth Grade, Widows, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor all got kicked to the dirt.

  12. I stopped watching the Oscars many years back. Just never really cared for award ceremonies, where the most interesting bit to me is the comedy monologue. Best Picture/Actor/Actress means something different to everyone after all. But I still appreciate the (friendly) debates these nominations stir among film fans!

    • I use to always look forward to watching them but I am taking a pass this year!

      I don’t really feel like any of the performances etc were that ground-breaking this year, same with the best picture field although I am hoping Roma gets some serious love, what a great film!
      E

  13. Really interesting.

    I have to admit that I’m one of those people who was rooting for “Black Panther” to win the Best Picture Oscar. I didn’t think it was a cookie-cutter movie and that the story was something beyond the generic superhero movie. To me, a cookie-cutter movie would be a superhero origin movie that apes the original 2002 “Spider-Man” film (“Doctor Strange” being an example of a well-made movie within the formula and Mark Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man” being an example of one that doesn’t rise beyond the formula).

    Granted, I didn’t see the other nominees or ones you recommended, so I’m not exactly forming an opinion based on a wide-range sampling. I could very well subconsciously be rooting for “Black Panther” due to the narrative that the Oscars snub blockbusters as being beneath them and wanting to see that glass ceiling broken.

    I will agree that “Black Panther” wouldn’t be my candidate for best superhero movie of the year, though; I vote “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (I found “Infinity War” to be more of an amazing “event” then a “movie” and want to see the rest of the story in “Endgame” before assessing where its greatness places it in the pantheon of superhero flicks.) I also have to admit that I tend to latch onto movies that I connect with on a personal level more then the quality of craftsmanship. For example, between “Black Panther” and “Bumblebee,” the former is in unarguably the better-told film and better story. However, I found that the latter means a lot more to me due to me getting far more investments a viewer in the friendship between Charlie and Bumblebee then the more political-driven plot of Black Panther becoming king.

    I guess long story short, I’m not quite sure I agree with you on everything, but I’m also not sure you not wrong either and that it all goes to show how in the film medium, we’re all impacted differently by the same thing.

    Personally, of the movies I saw of 2018, I think “Searching” was the best overall. Not sure how it stacks up with the rest of the Oscar nominees and snubs, but I do wish that it had made the cut in some fashion.

    • Searching was very well done, for what it was it was an extremely smart thriller and one of last year’s more enjoyable unique entries.

      I personally didn’t find anything unique about Black Panther outside of its setting and casting, I found you knew where things were going from very early on and often the film took a very long time to get there ha.
      It was fun but nothing Best Picture worthy (in my book).

      I don’t think many would disagree with you about Spider-Verse!
      E

      • “Searching was very well done, for what it was it was an extremely smart thriller and one of last year’s more enjoyable unique entries.”

        Sure.

        “I personally didn’t find anything unique about Black Panther outside of its setting and casting, I found you knew where things were going from very early on and often the film took a very long time to get there ha.
        It was fun but nothing Best Picture worthy (in my book).”

        Okay.

        “I don’t think many would disagree with you about Spider-Verse!”

        That one has been wining some some serious recognition in the animated awards department, including the Oscars. While Disney or Pixar could take that trophy home, I think “Spider-Verse” has a good chance of winning it; it’s a ground-breaking movie in many ways, compared to good movies that refine ground already covered.

  14. I agree 100% and sadly what the Academy doesn’t get is people don’t watch because it drags on all night if they just stuck with the major categories and help separate ceremonies for the lesser ones like they do with much of the technical categories people would tune in! Keep it around 2 hours. Just my 2 cents

    • I believe they are cutting a heap of things out this year to cut down time! Even only having 2 songs performed and cutting a number of technical categories from broadcast.
      E

  15. Vice. Black Panther. Blackkklansman.
    As I mentioned before, it’s not that these films are Oscar material; it’s that they are Hollywood material.
    What does that mean? Well, that they speak out against Trump. You can even read it on The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, industry people using movies as a way to protest.
    I am not the bit surprised at the nominations, actually. The Oscars lost the plot decades ago, if you ask me. It’s just that today, with such a politically charged environment, especially in Hollywood of all places!, movies like the ones listed above will resonate strongly with those who wish to make a political statement. They announce it, Twitter goes wild with happiness, and Hollywood continues to pretend they are, as the term puts it, “woke”.
    The problem of course is that Twitter is but an echo chamber; the real world is different.
    My recommendation? Don’t watch the Oscars. Don’t care about them. I stopped watching in 2014, and haven’t looked back.

    • I think its the best recommendation that can be given at the moment mate! I will be skipping them for the first time but it will feel good.
      E

  16. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 1/21/19 — 1/27/19 | Through the Shattered Lens·

  17. Yeah I lost a lost of respect after The Dark Knight fiasco, but there’s plenty of other dreadful choices over the years. This year has been a tipping point for many for sure.

    • It did feel like the tipping point for the point of no return mate. It’s just to much to bare when so many good films are missing out.
      E

      • I remember reading an interview when he seemed so happy about the changes. And I just kept thinking of barn door after the horse has bolted. Especially some of the films nominated in years since.

  18. I wrote my own post about why Black panther deserved it’s nomination and all I will say is that it presents a debate on how African leaders should deal with colonisation, and the fantasy of what Africa could have been if it wasn’t colonised. I think that question in itself is why it deserved it’s nomination, but I don’t hate on anyone that doesn’t think it deserved it. Good piece!

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