What is your favorite movie of all time? What is the best movie of all time? Is there a difference?
The Academy Awards. They have been around for quite a while, and are often esteemed as the pinnacle of a movie’s recognition. A movie can do well at the box office and receive critical acclaim, but as soon as it has one of those golden statuettes to its name – it’s in a whole new category. This is the general public’s common assessment, yet I feel differently. So, what is the highest acclaim a movie can receive? Someone who loves it.
Movies are a form of art like any other. Working actors, technicians, and especially producers (among others in Hollywood), will be quick to remind you that movie making is just as much a business, but in its pure state – movies are artistic expression. I have recently talked about artistic expression and that again takes effect here. What is truly important about a work of art? That it is technically amazing? That it makes an enormous profit? To some this may be it, however what MATTERS is that it speaks to an audience. My favorite movies of the year are The Dark Knight and WALL*E yet, neither of these movies are nominated for Best Picture (yeah, I know WALL*E is in the animation category). Does this leave me bitter and resentful? No, why would it? I still love these movies, and I don’t need a validation for that by an outside source. An award can’t (unless you’re a mindless idiot) take away or add to your personal opinion of a movie once you’ve seen it, and that is why they don’t matter.
I’m not here just to pick on the Oscars, either. All awards are in the same basket. The Academy Awards are the biggest of them all, however, so they are the most fiercely sought after. How are awards won? Politics and frivolous matters. Pwaaaaahh? Do you remember voting for things in high school? Be it the prom king &
queen or the “Most…” categories for your senior class? Did you truly consider each person in your class based on a number of criteria and vote accordingly? Of course not. Winning prom is a popularity contest amongst the “cool” kids, and the Most categories are usually pretty random in their selection. Heck, I was voted “Most Shy” my senior year of high school. Was I shy? Not at all, but people who didn’t know me saw that I was quiet, and BAM… there ya go. Awards work the same. The popular kids, the ones who are friends with the group voting, get the most attention, and others are often just chosen out of a hat based on some minor details.
Awards will do well for a movie’s profit, and they will often be discussed amongst the general public, but in the artistic sense of things, they not only don’t matter – they CAN’T matter. Who gave the best performance in a movie this year? Many people will have an opinion… but I doubt anyone can support it. If you think you can, I’d love to hear it – because when it comes down to it, there can’t be a universal “best” declared in any artistic form of expression. It’s all based on personal opinion.
Of course, award shows DO have their benefits…