It’s awards season! A very exciting time for budding filmmakers and people who still go to movie theaters (me). A lot of people don’t care about the Oscars because there’s a lot of bitterness against the system that’s in place. La La Land, a film about Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling singing or something, took home nearly every award at the Golden Globes and some people were understandably upset. The others contenders for this season are empowering and, arguably, better; they include Moonlight, Arrival, Lion, and Fences.
There are also a lot of things wrong that have nothing to do with the writing, directing, or music choice, but instead with the actors. Casey Affleck is up for Best Actor for his role in Manchester by the Sea, but considering he was also up for a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2010 there’s a lot of debate about whether he earned the nomination. I saw Manchester by the Sea with no knowledge of Affleck’s past and because of that I enjoyed it immensely—I thought the story and the acting was spot on and the tears I shed were not for Affleck’s past accusations but instead from his acting (and his dead family). He probably wouldn’t be up for the award if society cared at all about sexual harassment allegations and the victims of them at all. Roman Polanski, Chris Brown, Sean Penn, and recently Marlon Brando are all men who have come out of violent and sexual lawsuits unscathed. Where are the victims?
The Oscars mean something to the people who made the movies and, honestly, no one else, so why is it such a big deal when people are nominated/win/lose?
Movies are still art; they are the product of someone’s creativity and effort—it’s nice to see that being acknowledged, and more often than not it’s white men who get the acknowledgement. There are movies out there made by people more talented that will never find a mainstream audience. Sure, there’s a gem or two hidden in the crevices of Netflix in a category somewhere between Gay Romance and Teen Slasher, but that’s not enough. It’s important for us to recognize brilliant films made by people who care about storytelling and not about making a speech and using the award as a paperweight.
Let’s be honest though—none of these movies will stand the test of time.