Monday, March 3, 2014

Ten Reasons Why I don't watch The Oscars

I hate the Oscars.

I passionately hate the Oscars.

It’s not because every year they clog up my Twitter timeline with unfunny jokes and overenthusiastic people live tweeting the ceremony as if they’re breaking the news.

It’s not because they turned Jennifer Lawrence into a star and made the whole internet fall in love with her much later than I did.

It’s not because of the heartbreak of the brilliant, masterful and life changing The Good Road not being nominated.

It’s because the Oscars don’t celebrate art, talent and creativity – they celebrate lobbying. And cable TV network ratings.

So stop kidding yourselves. The Oscars ain’t something unique - it’s just a show. It’s no better than the Filmfare Awards. So don’t be a clueless elitist by telling me you only watch the Oscars but not desi award shows because they’re ‘fixed’. The Oscars are as fair as healthcare in North Korea, as impartial as gay rights in Russia, as transparent as Subrata Roy’s Swiss bank accounts, and as sincere as Raza Murad in Mohra.  

Don't take my word for it. Even Julie Delpy agrees with me. Sample her quote in a recent interview - the Academy is 90% white men over 70 who need money because they haven't done anything in a long time. You just need to give them two or three presents and they're in your pocket.

Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t even like attending the Oscars. He publicly loathes them and in return the Academy didn’t nominate him for Her. I can almost hear the jury members huddling up and mumbling ‘Yeah, that’ll show him up!’

It has been documented that some of the Oscar voters have not had anything to do with the movie industry for more than 30 years. That is why we see old fashioned, politically correct films get nominated over more radical and challenging stuff.

So here are my 2014 Oscar predictions: a bunch of entitled panjadrums will present the awards to a different bunch of entitled panjadrums.

And here are ten reasons why I won’t watch the 2014 Oscars:

1) Adele Exarchopolous was not nominated for her role in Blue is the Warmest Color. Her performance was raw, devastating, and so powerful that Spielberg made an exception for the Palm d’Or at Cannes to ensure that she shared the award. It was the first time in the history of Cannes that an actress shared the award. But what do the French know. The Academy is clearly more knowledgeable about cinema.

2) Brie Larson didn’t receive an acting nom for Short Term 12. Anyone who has watched a movie in his life will tell you that Larson’s performance as a foster care worker with a troubled past was incredible. The film itself sits at 99% on Rottentomatoes, but of course what do film critics know. The Academy is the boss.

3) Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach and Frances Ha were all robbed of nominations. This brilliant little film is for everyone and anyone who would like to gain some perspective on their own lives through a film. Oh silly me, why would the Academy members need any perspective when they’re busy pocketing gifts from the biggest film stars on the planet.

4) Hugh Jackman in Prisoners was one of the strongest male performances of last year. Granted, the race in this category is tight this time, but what’s stopping the Academy from making an exception and including a sixth nomination slot? It’s not like they’ll give the award to Leo anyway – they just keep nominating him and constantly rendering him what can only be described as a KLPD.

5) Pacific Rim was not nominated for visual effects, but Lone Ranger scored a nom. I’m not an expert on 3D animation, but even a blind man can tell you that the critically acclaimed Pacific Rim had more eye popping visuals, more complex graphics and better CGI artistry than the Disney flop. Pacific Rim had a Rocket punch. Lone Ranger had a falling train. Seriously, which is more innovative, exciting and rewatchable?

6) Inside Llewyn Davis is a moving, terrific film about artists struggling to catch their break and make ends meet. It’s about the tough choice an artist makes between an easy career in an office and following his dream. By not nominating this film the Academy has beautifully pissed upon these very artists, while still posing as an organization which honors fine art and artists.

7) Before Midnight was nominated for its screenplay. But just one nomination for a film of its quality backs up Delpy’s remarks about the Academy. There are plenty of other incredible films like A Touch of Sin, Blackfish, TPB-AFK, Upstream Color and Tonerre that received zero nominations, but that could only be because the Academy hasn’t even heard of them. And expecting American Oscar voters to support the superb F1 film Rush is like expecting Suppandi to solve a differential equation.

8) Everything would be forgiven if the Oscar show was actually fun. It’s not. It's not even funny. It’s a clichéd bore. It’s followed the same template since the last fifty years. Celebrities walk the red carpet in ridiculous gowns; journos compliment them as if they’re wearing something made out of Unobtainium; the show’s host cracks mostly lame jokes on the stars attending the event, thereby plugging their films; cameras cut to the stars for reaction shots – this is pre-decided and negotiated by the stars’ PRs. It’s the exact same show every year, just with different faces (and often with the same faces). It’s not surprising that viewership has declined drastically over the past decade.

9) The show isn’t streamed live online. People don’t watch TV anymore, they watch shows on laptops, tablets and even phones. Hilariously, the Oscars will be streamed online this year – only to those who subscribe to cable TV in the US. This is a confirmation of the greed and the IQ levels of everyone involved with the Oscars.

10) The irritating orchestra music that orders Oscar winners to stop their acceptance speech and get the hell off the stage. The worst, most disgusting and shameful example of this was seen last year when Life of Pi won the Oscar for best VFX. The head of Rhythm and Hues, the company that designed the VFX and had gone bankrupt just a few days before the Oscars, was kicked off the stage by the Academy when he tried to make a statement on the same. If this is the organization credited with propagating the spirit of cinema and artists, I’ll pass on the opportunity to watch their show. When do the Independent Spirit Awards air on teevee? At least their films are better, the hosts are cooler and the jokes are funnier. 

(First published in Firstpost)

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