Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Tumultuous, Tortured Relationship (with the Academy)

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning.

This is a pretty exciting time of the year for me. I love filling out March Madness ballots. I joined and participated in a Fantasy Football league this past fall. The interactive thing is fun. But if I had a choice, I could geek out on Academy Award buzz for much longer. If only Academy Fantasy leagues were a thing (wait, are they?).

I like that the Academy has a strong reputation that goes back a long time. I like that, although there are plenty of awards for every detail of movies, there are 24 that are the main focus and an average Joe like myself can have educated opinions on most of them. I like that I can throw parties requiring people to dress up. I like getting caught up in the ridiculousness of it all.

Here's what kills me. The Academy's incessant love of biopic movies.The Academy's refusal to give a nod to anything superhero related. Its pick of The King's Speech over The Social Network. Its overflow of love poured onto The Hurt Locker. Alas, it's not a perfect relationship.

This year, I don't have any strong favorites. I probably enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom the most. The Cabin in the Woods was one of the smartest. The Hobbit and The Dark Knight Rises took me on a pretty great adventure. Bernie was the most twistedly endearing. And I hear Looper takes your brain for a ride.

While I haven't seen all the movies (Amour, Zero Dark Thirty, and Life of Pi remain in my queue) nominated for best picture, none blew me away. I'm hopeful for Zero but am trying not to set myself up for disappointment. I'm grateful the Academy is willing to include movies like Beasts of the Southern Wild in a number of categories but disappointed when The Dark Knight Rises or Moonrise are absent.


As in all art forms, movies have elements of subjectivity. That's why they're great. That's why we all have a favorite genre. That's why I keep coming back to the Oscars even when they don't treat me right.

The Oscars will be aired February 24 on ABC.

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