I agree that each year brings its share of incredulous responses to Oscar
winners and nominations and there is a common understanding that the awards
are driven by money and PR. What clouds the issue and perpetuates the
outrage is that every now and then they get it right and the viewer,
whether 'filmy' or not, feels that perhaps they do fulfill their outward
appearance and reward quality acting and film craft. Susan Sarandon,
Frances McDormand being two that immediately spring to mind.
To say that it happens every year makes it no less worthy of continual
comment and criticism. They may be a travesty but they still can make or
break the international career of many an actor, especially non-American
ones and the Awards every year are an indication of how the industry wishes
to be seen. Surely this is worthy of constant scrutiny and is what I assume
the current debate is all about, as you say, the criteria and purpose of
I think Darcy Paquet suggestion is the best one, talk about it, disagree
with it but never take it too seriously.
And Cate Blanchett is Australian.
Derek Kompare writes
While I'm not directing these comments to any
>individuals on this list, it seems like you could no doubt find similar (if
>not identical) reactions to the Oscars amongst us "filmies" (for want of a
>better term; I don't want to ignore those on the list who aren't academic
>film scholars) *every single year* since 1927.
>"How could they ignore Blanchett/Dench/Richardson/(insert name of
>well-regarded but Oscar-snubbed British actress)?"
>However, I'm wondering if we could shift (or broaden) our attention to the
>function of these particular awards (aside from the obvious money, money,
>and, um, money), and lists (eg, the AFI 100 and various other lists in the
>last year or so) in building and legitimating particular kinds of media
>texts. What are the criteria AMPAS (and ATAS, or other awards, for that
>matter) uses? What would your criteria be? Do we even *need* criteria and
>accolades and lists?
Department of Visual Communication
RMIT University, Australia
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