15 January 2015

On the Perfidy of the Oscars

Oh woe is me, woe is everyone, the Oscar nominations for "2014" films were announced and pleased almost nobody.


For one thing, the distributed arts (that is, the arts based on experiencing a copy of the "original") almost always benefit from an actual discussion of some kind, even if that discussion turns out to be thinly disguised marketing bullshit. In this instance, maybe the wretchedly behind-the-times demographics of AMPAS will come under scrutiny for the Selma "snub"; maybe other issues, such as the paucity of actual central roles offered to women with an apparent age of over 40 — at least to those living in a plastic-surgery culture who have no bloody clue — and who are not named Meryl Streep, will get some discussion. The less said about H'wood's equation between "highly intelligent" and "socially awkward," the better; it's probably due more to H'wood's lack of exposure to "highly intelligent" than anything else. I hold little hope of actual change in the near future... but there won't ever be a change without the discussion happening first.

There's one thing that is not going to be discussed, though, and it's the bullshit eligibility criteria. That's why I put quotes around the year in that opening sentence. This is the real problem with Selma: It isn't a 2014 film. It is a 2015 film, because it wasn't available outside the echobox during 2014. It's the same argument that I have against awards for books that are based upon advance reading/publicity copies offered to critics months (and I'm not exaggerating) before the actual release. I would have refused to nominate Selma for anything this round for precisely that reason: Since I don't live in the bloody NYC/LA echobox, it wasn't available to be seen before the nomination period closed. And I'm not exactly living in East Podunk, either.