Chris Rocks The Oscars
If you’re a movie fan like me, then the Oscars is your Super Bowl. You follow your favorites, read all the interviews, and sit on the edge of your couch when your category comes up on the day of the ceremony. I used to be a special effects fanatic, following all the effects houses, download the clips that the effects outfit was nominated for, and read all the press releases. I was far less concerned with “Best Picture,” “Best Actor,” and “Best Score” nonsense.
Over the years though… the last five being the worst… I’ve become disinterested with all of it. I don’t care any more, and I highly doubt that I’ll be watching the awards ceremony this year. If I do… it’ll be for the ads, to watch the expressions on the losers faces and to see what all the controversy is about revolving the man who inspired this rant.
Fake Or Biased?
Anyone can tell something is wrong with the awards process just by looking back and seeing the injustices through out history. For instance, Humphrey Bogart not winning the statue for Best Actor for his roll as Rick Blaine in Casablanca being one of the earliest ones. Since then there are those awards that don’t go to the people we think they should have gone to. Often we the audience see someone win an award and are left with this cheated feeling knowing that our favorites should have won instead. In the years 1977 and 1981 there were two motion pictures that were so good and entertaining that people lined up around the block and waited for hours to see them. These two movies were phenomenon's all there own, setting records that took years (or even decades) to break. These movies were “Star Wars (Episode IV – A New Hope)” and “Raiders Of The Lost Ark”, which lost to Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” and “Chariots Of Fire” respectively…
What’s wrong with this picture? Two movies that people obviously enjoyed so much that they would go for repeat viewings and were willing to wait in line (like I did) to see them. Regardless of the box-office earnings… how could these two movies that were the most entertaining, most sought after and most adored by the ticket paying public NOT be “The Best Picture” the years they were released? Shouldn’t “Best Picture” go for the ones universally liked?
Those are just two examples of why I believe the Oscars are fake… fake in the sense that it doesn’t reflect what movie is really the best motion picture. I have more… which I won’t post now. This is all to back up Chris Rock and his comments about the Oscars that he made last week and kept Matt Drudge (of The Drudge Report and the second most famous Fedora Wearing News Junkie in the world…) name in the news for a few days. He’s right… but for the wrong reasons.
Right For The Wrong Reasons.
What exactly did Chris Rock say last week that had everyone all upset?
- "What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one."
- "I never watched the Oscars. Come on, it's a fashion show,"
- "Awards for art are f@#%ing idiotic."
- "Nothing against people who aren't straight, but what straight guy that you know cares? Who gives a f@#%?"
The real issue I think is what he’s trying to say about the awards in general. Award ceremonies are the essence of Hollywood hype, self promotion of something that is in some aspects superficial. Looking deeper, Awards shows are more superficial hype of superficial hype… layers of pop-culture propaganda and sales pitch for something that should essentially sell itself.
How is it that we have awards ceremonies for artists but we don’t have them for people who make such things possible? When was the last time they televised the award ceremonies for the Metal Of Honor winners? We never get to see a police officer awarded for saving someone’s life or honoring them when struck down in the line of duty. We never see an award ceremony for a fire fighter who save a child from a burning building, an EMT who went above and beyond to save someone after a car wreck or a National Guardsman who saved a family after a natural disaster?
Is that what Chris Rock means? I don’t know… but that’s what I got out of his statements.
The Importance of keeping Cinema in Perspective
Movies are important because they reflect our culture, as the artists see it how the world really is, how they wish the world could be or how they fear it might become. My concern is that there are too many people who have shut themselves off from the real world and become absorbed in the flickers of light, obsessed with someone else’s version of the world.
My fear is that the audience of modern pop culture will become the people in Plato’s Republic in his cave analogy, where the inhabitants of the cave were more interested in the shadows on the wall and unconcerned with the real drama in the outside world that actually creates the shadows. And like Plato's cave analogy… someone will indeed become angry with me when I say that interacting with the outside world is far more fantastic and satisfying then being chained to our couches to watch “reality TV” or whatever is in the movies.
Something I want people to remember is that these award shows are nothing more then exhibition presented by the Hollywood hype machine and a way for studios to promote movies that will be released through out the rest of the year. Award shows are studio advertisements… a means of saying “We have a track record of making great movies and have the awards to prove it… just wait to see what we have for you in the coming year.
In a short while very few people are going to remember who won all the awards during this years Oscar Ceremony. Not too many people can even name all the awards that were won last year and the years before and I’m hard-pressed to remember every spectacle that occurred during the pre-ceremony red-carpet parade or the speeches from years past. The intensity of this year’s awards will diminish before the week’s out and will be almost forgotten by the time summer’s block-buster season begins. By then It will be hard to justify the media attention this years ceremony received while our attention and imagination will be captured by the next big thing in the theater and in the movie rental isles.
I’m with Chris Rock on this… the award shows are ridiculous. Movies aren’t about golden statues… they’re about something more important; The way they make us feel. Just because a movie is awarded “Best Picture,” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best movie of the year… just that it’s most popular with the Hollywood crowd. Don’t feel bad if you favorites don’t win or aren’t even nominated. The real winners are the ones that people remember and still talk about for decades to come - treasured by people like you and me for all time.
What do you think of The Oscars?