Billy Crystal put it best when he said, “Nothing takes the sting out of these tough economic times like watching a bunch of millionaires giving golden statues to each other.”
Crystal made that joke as the host of the 2012 Academy Awards, a ceremony that dates back to 1929 and will make its 85th return Sunday, Feb. 24, with Seth MacFarlane at the helm.
The Oscars are coming on the heels of the Sunday, Feb. 10 Grammy Awards.
We are officially in the trenches of award season.
It’s a time for celebrities to show off their fashion savvy, for editors and screenwriters to get away from their desks and into their ties and for millions of Americans to tear their hair out as their beloved artists are passed over once again. As they observe their once-precious follicles strewn across the floor, they are forced to ask the timeless question: Why do we care?
Questioning the legitimacy of the awards is not news, but when they consistently misrepresent the true state of an art form, there is a chance that they need to be changed.
The Oscars have plenty of prestige, but they don’t always get it right.
Consider Entertainment Weekly’s list of movies that did not receive a single nomination this year: “The Hunger Games” (EW cites an anti-young-adult mentality), “Magic Mike,” “Chronicle,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Looper” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (another young adult novel).
Take “The Hunger Games”: aside from being beloved by millions, the film was critically acclaimed.
According to RottenTomatoes.com, out of 268 reviews aggregated, 227 of those were positive – that’s 85 percent.
Compare that to Les Misérables’ 70 percent, and all the other nominees for Best Picture landed somewhere in the 85-95 percent range.
Jon Caramanica, a writer for the New York Times, did a piece after the Grammys accusing the voters of choosing songs based on generational preferences.
Caramanica wrote about the young acts that received recognition, such as Fun, Gotye and Mumford & Sons and said, “they unfailingly hew to old styles, dating back in some cases to the 1930s. If the Grammy narrative is to be believed, the last time there was musical innovation worthy of celebration was the mid-1980s, which may well line up with the prime creative period of many Grammy voters.”
What this boils down to is two evenings of extravagant ceremony and hours of watching wealthy people pat themselves and each other on the back.
The awards pretend as though the voting doesn’t align with a contrived and pretentious mentality and return every February to remind us of their irrelevance.
Of course, they will never change because Americans will continue to tune in until the day all award shows stop airing.