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Have movie award shows become irrelevant?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

They snub films and actors

Opinion by Samantha Register

Last year’s debate over whether the Academy Awards should include a “Popular Film” category, as though acknowledging that “popular films” are not award-worthy, highlighted a prevalent phenomenon in recent years: award shows have become increasingly irrelevant. 

Case in point: The Dark Knight, one of the most influential and groundbreaking films of the 21st century, wasn’t even nominated for the Oscars’ Best Picture the year that Slumdog Millionaire received the award. 

This year saw a similar occurrence, as fans were upset that Black Panther, the third highest-grossing film of all time in the United States, left this year’s Golden Globes ceremony empty handed.

There are countless articles and YouTube videos dedicated to the Top Best Picture Snubs, Worst Best Picture Winners, and Actors Who Won an Academy Award for the Wrong Role. It’s practically general knowledge that trophies are not necessarily awarded to the “best” of each category but rather the product of who had the most effective Oscar campaign. Just look at Leonardo DiCaprio’s award for The Revenant after a much publicized “Leo deserves an Oscar” push, as opposed to winning for one of his more widely beloved performances in The Wolf of Wall Street or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. 

Aside from the questionable choice of awardees, award ceremonies have been plagued by a series of unfunny hosts in recent years. Comedian Ricky Gervais, during his multiple hosting appearances at the Golden Globes, made audience members visibly uncomfortable with a series of mean-spirited jokes. Additionally, the popular young actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco were accused of being boring and having zero chemistry during their Oscar hosting gig in 2011. It’s no surprise that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar viewership in 2018 hit an all-time low.

Film fans hoping that the Academy Awards will award Black Panther Best Picture and finally show appreciation for the superhero genre should just skip the ceremony. It’s not like recent Best Picture winners Spotlight and Birdman have made a significant pop culture impact anyway.

It preserves the art of filmmaking

Opinion by Taelar Johansen

Award shows like the Academy Awards, the Emmys, the Tonys, and the Grammys allow each creative field to have a goal to aim for when creating their work of art and are vital to the overall survival of that art form.

True of any industry, whether that be in Hollywood or locally in a small town, awards are given to not only acknowledge success but to recognize other qualities such as ability, struggle, effort, and most importantly, excellence.   

However, in the performing arts, there have been several past instances where the general public did not agree with the critics. But the great thing about the movie industry is that there are numerous award shows ranging in prestige for the winners so that all films can be recognized for their outstanding work.   

The People’s Choice Awards are determined by the general public, and the winners often reflect what was most popular over the last year along with the Best Picture usually being considered a “popcorn movie.” These movies and TV shows are entertaining, well-loved, and give praise to both up-and-coming actors, actresses, and veterans throughout the industry. 

But when it comes to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the process of selecting award show winners is a little different. 

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is the Rolls Royce of award shows, and once a person or film has won an Oscar, the title “Academy Award Winner” will follow them forever and they become this symbol of notoriety.   

It is so prestigious that to even be nominated for an Academy Award results in many movies having their packaging re-released with the phrase “Academy Award Nominated.” 

Winners of the Best Picture category may not always hold the biggest impact on the pop culture world, but that doesn’t mean they are undeserving of the award.  The Academy Awards are not a popularity contest but a recognition of truly brilliant performances within the motion picture arts.

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