Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea & Moonlight. If I asked you if you had even heard of any of these films, chances are you might answer that you’ve heard of Arrival and probably went to see La La Land recently, and that would be it. Hell, if it wasn’t for the Golden Globes recently, you probably wouldn’t have even bothered to go and see La La Land am I right? You see, the Oscars and The Golden Globes were once one of the biggest and best celebrations of film worldwide, but now it’s nothing more than a marketing ploy to help push films that wouldn’t last 2 weeks in the cinema before getting shuffled off to DVD or Netflix to be long forgotten by the general population. Oh, and just to let you know, all those films I mentioned at the beginning of all this are up for “Best Picture” this year. (You can see our run down of the Oscar nominations here)
The Academy vs The Nerds
Once upon a time, it was big blockbusters that topped the nomination list. Though the 1990s and very early 2000s you would be hard to find a movie on the top 5 nominations list for Best Film that you didn’t see at the cinema at some point. You had hits like Dances with Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump & Titanic as winners in that category. All of them are classics, even timeless films that people would still watch today. Then in 2003 things started to turn. Why did they turn? Well one film defied natural convention and won best film. That film? The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King. GASP! A movie based on a nerdy book took out the top honors in the Academy? THE HORROR!!
You see, Hollywood is nothing short of the popular bully that does everything to keep the bookish nerds down in their own films. Properties based on nerdy topics like Lord of the Rings were never meant to even see the top 5, let alone win the top honors. Nerds are filthy disgusting creatures who dwell in their parents basements and should remain there, or on the phone as the IT department. How dare Peter Jackson create an amazing movie series that captured the imagination of the whole world and make nerd properties into something resembling an art form rather than a summer joke filler when Hollywood isn’t popping out the latest cookie cutter romance comedy or explosive action flick.
After Return of the King won the top honor at the Oscars, Hollywood decided that it was time for a change. Gone are the top grossing films that the people made popular and in their place are more “independent” looking artsy movies like Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Slumdog Millionaire & The King’s Speech. You might have heard about one or two of these films and eventually checked them out. But think about when you heard of them, when was it? That’s right, awards season. Hollywood wanted to bring control back to themselves like the popular bullies that they are and make sure that another nerd revolution in film will never get a chance to win the Best Film Oscar ever again.
Image Source: Academy Award for Best Picture – Wikipedia
La La Land: How awards raise a lackluster film to greatness
If there is anything that proves that the Oscars are nothing more than a marketing gimmick, it’s the sudden popularity in the movie La La Land.
La La Land is being called the revival of the musical into the modern day, however once people watch it, they mostly say that it’s an average movie at best. Yet La La Land has 14 nominations at the Oscars and 7 at the Golden Globes; and if the Golden Globes is anything to go by (LLL won all 7 awards it was nominated for) then La La Land will get 14 Oscars.
A Academy Awards voter recently broke ranks to explain that the system is flawed and rigged towards what Hollywood wants rather than what is good. The voter said the following about La La Land:
“I’m trying to figure it out. I think because it’s set in LA and it’s about the industry and they’re all narcissists … They’re mediocre singers and dancers, and there’s not one good song in the movie, as opposed to Singin’ in the Rain or other classic musicals. It’s a poor imitation. I’ll be embarrassed when it wins,”
Now we can back this claim up with simple numbers. Thankfully in this digital age, people can get access to the box office records of any film for years after it releases. If you refer to the image above, you’ll notice huge increases for La La Land come on the weeks of Dec 23, 2016 through Jan 5, 2017; then again for Jan 13 through 19 & Jan 27 through Feb 2nd. Now the Golden Globe nominations came out in the third week the film was out and caused a 153% jump in sales, the following week when the awards were given out it didn’t do as good. The second jump comes at the post-holiday season when the movie was pushed hard with the Golden Globe branding attached to it, then again when the Oscar nominations came out. Each jump is sudden and is not consistent, meaning that there was an outside force pushing it’s growth.
Ignoring popular films, both domestically & International
Now I already pointed out that the Hollywood bully doesn’t want to see the nerds get another Academy Award for Best Picture, but they’ll allow other kids to play around in their other pools. When looking at the top 20 grossing films for 2016, the year that the Academy Awards is meant to take into account for nominations, only 2 films are given award nominations. You’ll notice that the 2 films in question: Zootopia (Number 7 in 2016) & Moana (Number 11 in 2016) are only nominated in the Animation Award category. You see, once again the “Childish” films are not allowed at the “Popular Kids Table”. Do you know when the Hollywood favorite La La Land makes an appearance on the list? Number 24, behind BAD MOMS! The critical BOMB known as Bad Moms did better financially than the Academy darling La La Land even with a bump in sales due to the Golden Globes. Fuck, even the TERRIBLE Ghostbusters 2016 is higher than La La Land!
Ryan Renolds and the crew behind Deadpool made a great nomination chance video for their blockbuster movie, but neither is getting even a sniff at an Oscar. Rogue One, Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, The Secret Life of Pets, The Jungle Book remake & Deadpool are some of the top earners worldwide with a gross in 2016 alone that eclipse La La Land by easily 200% or more, yet not ONE of those films is getting anything from the Academy. Why? Well we have 3 nerd franchises and 4 kids films on that list, and if I’ve stated anything clearly it’s that Hollywood HATES nerd movies and kids films. After all, the Oscars is nothing more than a Hollywood circle jerk about how great they are.
Another thing that is annoying with this system is that it is extremely rare to see a non-American made film make it into any award category. In the past we might have seen something like Spirited Away walk away with an Oscar, but not today. In today’s world, anime films are relegated to the same hate that nerd movies get. One of the biggest mistakes Hollywood has made this season was to snub the critically acclaimed “Your Name“, a Japanese Animated feature that is so good it has become the highest grossing Anime film ever made. Yet this isn’t enough to even get a blip on the Academy’s radar. If a movie that breaks a countries record that has stood for over a decade and ranks up with the Top 10 grossing movies in 2016 can’t rate a mention at The Oscars, then what chance does any other popular film.
Image Source: 2016 Yearly Box Office Records – Box Office Mojo
Politics rule Hollywood, both public and internal
The Academy Awards, or The Oscars if you prefer, are nothing more than a way for Hollywood to pat itself on the back and talk down to the masses about whatever political outrage there is at the current times. In the past it’s been about taking care of the homeless and veterans, then it morphed into the diversity talk, then it was about women and the pay gap; now it’s about Donald Trump and everything the guy does.
Nothing is more disgusting to listen to than a group of the most privileged people on the planet talking down to “the common people” about political issues that we all know they are either far above experiencing themselves or they are a part of through the Hollywood machine. If there is any business that is more about stereotypes and keeping things in the status quo it’s fucking HOLLYWOOD!! Yet come awards season, here they are up on stage accepting an award for the most “normal” style of movies and talking about how black people need more representation, women need more money, Donald Trump is going to ruin America, etc.
It’s the same with the nomination system. It’s geared to make sure that the “poor misunder represented” movies get a fair go and the people involved in them get all the credit they deserve so that the movie and the people in them get the headlines that’ll keep them in a career and in the limelight for another 12 months.
I know all this sounds like the raving of some tin foil hat wearing lunatic, but the proof is in the numbers. We, the movie going public, are no longer in control of who gets the awards from an industry that has clearly lost touch with the outside world. The Academy wants to use the Oscars as a marketing gimmick to push movies that no one in their right mind would warrant watching outside of a DVD rental or a last ditch effort Netflix binge. It’s a shame that Hollywood is so out of touch. They cry poor every year in order to stop piracy, spend millions on getting laws passed to protect archaic distribution practices and force cinemas to charge insane rates to see their multi-million dollar bombs. The people involved are more interested in using their privileged lives to talk about things that they really don’t care about in order to get some media headlines. It’s just become a joke, and the people are getting sick of listening to them. We need the awards to reflect what the people vote for with their wallets instead of what the Academy wants us to.
Hollywood, you’re not Vince McMahon. Stop trying to push Roman Reigns down our throat when we just want more Kevin Owens. La La Land is shit, the people have said as much. We want Deadpool, Your Name, Rogue One and many others that WE made popular to be awarded and thanked for the time WE put into watching them. Stop pushing for us to watch the trash YOU think we want to see. Just stop.