Why am I writing this article? Because I think it wouldn’t be right if MCS didn’t celebrate the Oscars getting it right, for once.
See, when you follow the awards season as heavily as we do, and when you make movies a good chunk of your entire life, it’s easy to get jaded (I’m looking at you, Shep). When movies like Million Dollar Baby or Chicago or Shakespeare in Love win the top award, it’s easy to get discouraged and argue that the best movie simply did not win.
The Oscars have had a long history of being short-sighted. How Green Was My Valley beat out Citizen Kane for the Oscar in 1941, for God’s sake. I think we can all agree that that was a mistake.
So even though Katheryn Bigelow’s amazing film The Hurt Locker was the front-runner for the top prize, I was skeptical. Avatar was a huge hit and seemed to be gaining momentum coming out of the Golden Globes. And even though that is a terrible Oscar predictor, I was also concerned with the Academy’s new voting system and decision to include ten nominees in the Best Picture category. There was some speculation that the other “more serious” movies would split the vote and Avatar would reign supreme.
It didn’t happen, and it shouldn’t have happened. The one thing I still love about the Oscars is that it honestly doesn’t matter how much money your movie made or what its budget was. I mean, sure, your movie has to garner enough buzz to be noticed, and studios throw millions of dollars into Oscar marketing, but it’s still a slightly more “pure” system than the MTV Movie Awards…or even the Grammy’s for that matter.
Still, when a movie like Avatar comes along, I get a little shaken. Audiences want it to win. Many critics want it to win. It “revolutionized” 3D cinema, so the technophiles want it to win. And it’s got enough money to just about buy every vote possible from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (not making accusations, just saying).
But there’s only one problem: it’s not the better movie.
The Oscars is a crapshoot. When the intensely overrated A Beautiful Mind took home the top prize, I lost a little faith. Sometimes they “get it,” sometimes they don’t. It’s a subjective experience, that whole movie-watching thing, and I’m not enough of a snob to believe that I know the objective truth of the quality of the films. Still, when you put a tense and emotionally affecting character-driven story like The Hurt Locker up against the crowd-pleasing Avatar, it’s difficult not to come away with the belief that The Hurt Locker is the greater cinematic achievement.
So congratulations, Hollywood. You got it right, and I raise my imaginary glass to you. I’m not going to give you too much credit, though. You did nominate Norbit (Just kidding…that fat suit was the BOMB!).