Why Do We Care Less About the Oscars?

Why do we care less about the Oscars? Let's start by clarifying who "we" are talking about here. If "we" mean people neck-deep in the film scene—like filmmakers, film school students, and hardcore cinephiles—alas, the problem here is kinda serious. But before we do anything about it, let’s first take a look at a few reasons behind.

First up, we've got Hollywood's biggest open secret—PR tactics. Big film studios and marketing gurus have been pulling strings to influence Oscar nominations and wins for ages. It's not the only factor, but PR has definitely thrown a wrench into the gears of Tinseltown. Take, for instance, the infamous Harvey Weinstein, who maneuvered behind the scenes to push eyebrow-raising films like "Shakespeare in Love"(1998) and "Silver Linings Playbook"(2012) into the Oscar spotlight. One of the side effects of the wild PR campaigns is that indie darlings with shoestring budgets are left in the dust, unable to snag the limelight.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow won the Best Actress Award for "Shakespeare in Love" at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999.

Next, we've got the Oscars trying to keep up with the times by getting more "politically correct". Inclusivity is great, but some of these new rules feel a bit forced. Have you heard about the latest requirements? The leading roles has to include at least one minority actor, or your cast needs to look like a diverse mosaic with six ethnically diverse faces in key positions. In that case, most films barely qualify, such as "La La Land"(2016) which "almost" won the best picture. Sure, the Oscars are trying to reflect today's world, but these strict rules aren't necessarily fostering groundbreaking cinema.

La La Land
At the 89th Academy Awards in 2017, the producers of "La La Land" announced that the best picture should be "Moonlight"(2016).

And let's not forget about Hollywood's creativity slump. It seems like the industry has lost its spark, opting for safe bets over originality. Every year, it's the same old story: piles of cash thrown at CGI-packed superhero flicks or penny-pinching on movies tailor-made for awards season glory. To win the Academy's favor, you've gotta have a clear theme and a niche audience.

The biopic "Maestro"(2023), which was nominated for Best Picture this year, is considered Oscar bait.

Well, the Academy dropped the nominations bomb for this year's Oscars a while ago, but let's face it, outside the realm of movies, the only thing that really seems to cause a splash in the public eye is that "Barbie" controversy.

Ryan Gosling expressed his disappointment that "Barbie"(2023) was not nominated for Best Actress and Best Director.

So, going back to the original question, if "we" means the general public, then let me bring a dose of reality to the party. Most people out there aren't losing sleep over the Oscars or any other film festival for that matter—whether it's Cannes, Berlin, or Sundance... Ask them—is it worth debating on why Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie of "Barbie" didn't get nominations? What does it mean when "Oppenheimer"(2023) representing mainstream white male aesthetics, gets 13 nominations? Can Emma Stone snatch another Oscar for "Poor Thing"(2023)? They surely won't have definite answers, but the thing is most people don't really care.

Once, movies were my everything, until I graduated from film school, leaving the dream factory and entering the more real-life daily grind. Movies are just another slice of the cultural pie, not the whole shebang. Sure, the Oscars still hold sway in Hollywood (for now, at least), but beyond the silver screen, there's a whole world of stuff clamoring for our attention, especially when Hollywood is experiencing a creativity slump. So forgive us if we've got bigger fish to fry and more pressing issues to mull over than who's taking home a shiny gold statue.

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