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Through the lens

LATER THIS MONTH, Hollywood’s best, brightest, and most celebrated will duke it out for top honours. It’s the one night of the year where the cinematic world will be transformed into a vicious wrestling match and go head-to-head in the ring for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Score, among other awards—all the while decked out in fashion’s best.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about the Oscars.

This year The Associated Press brings the 84th Academy Awards to television screens around the world. The cockfight cleverly disguised as a magical affair brings Hollywood’s heavyweights together and top accolades are doled out in every possible direction. While I find it highly entertaining to watch the hilarious fashion commentary by E! Entertainment Television royalty Joan Rivers, I sometimes wonder: What’s the point?

Who’s to say one movie is better than another? Art is subjective by nature. Take deciding between The Artist and The Help. One movie is a silent, 1930s-esque film tracking a classic love story, while the other is a politically charged movie following the relationship between a white woman and black maids during the civil rights movement in the United States.

The Oscars are regarded as the pinnacle of award ceremonies in the movie world. Films that are even nominated are considered to be artistically superior to the hundreds of other movies made that year. The stuffy, highbrow approach the Academy has to movies has created some of the greatest snubs in film history.
This year, fans of the all-female cast Bridesmaids will be disappointed to learn the film—along with another fan favourite, Harry Potter—was skipped over for Best Picture. Both movies not only smashed their competition at the box office, but were also considered possible winners for the category by critics.
The Oscars may, historically speaking, overlook laugh-out-loud-until-it-hurts movies in favour of tear-jerking, period-piece dramas, but this only adds to its lack of credibility. Who’s to say a comedy can’t overshadow a drama?

Oscar politics are enough to put someone off the award season for a lifetime. The crazy campaigns created and pushed by Hollywood studios reduce the Academy Awards to a mean girls-type popularity contest in some suburban high school. Competing studios release horrible stories about other movies, like the one about director Danny Boyle overworking children for the film Slumdog Millionaire. Oscar politics matter when choosing which film gets the glory in a certain category.

The Oscars are just a spectacle and not about substance. Heated discussions will always surround which movie is more deserving of an award. Of course, the snubs will continue to roll in year after year. People will be upset, others smug with a win.

Go ahead, kick back and watch the Oscars this year, but don’t take them too seriously. Watch the flurry of celebrities and media frenzy on the red carpet; wince at all the fashion faux pas—but know that the ceremony doesn’t matter. Your favourite film doesn’t need an award to be your favourite, after all.

Sofia Hashi
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