“‘I'm not watching the Oscars next year’ says everyone who will watch the Oscars next year,” one of us joked on Twitter this morning, but it’s a pretty apt summation to the perplexing perpetual love/hate relationship many have with the Academy Awards. “We’re relieved to hear that everyone says ‘The Oscars Don’t Matter’ aren’t watching the Oscars tonight,” was another quip we made yesterday evening before the awards and again, it echoes the same sentiment. And we don’t really get the frustration that comes from the audience, those in the industry, those who cover movies and hell, even some of our own team members.
Yes, lord knows we all bitch and moan about something (including The Playlist) and those who care about and love film and cinema (presumably you and our site and its contributors) often have genuine concerns, issues, grievances they need to voice, sometimes rather vociferously. But the time and energy spent by those complaining about the Oscars seems silly and wasted considering what the Academy is, stands for and represents has hardly ever changed in its 85 years.
And mind you, we're not defending and or even championing the Academy Awards, but once you understand what the awards are and aren’t, perhaps you’ll get less worked up about it. If you recognize the Oscars as industry-created celebration of the industry, its members and its peers, maybe you'll realize why Oscars are never worth getting that upset about. Frankly, there's a zillion reasons why there's little point in complaining about the Oscars. Many should be obvious and self-evident, but here goes with five reasons you should shut up and just enjoy the Oscars for what they are and give up hoping for something they never were in the first place. "Painfully obvious" you say? Hell yes, but then why do the majority of people -- including some Oscar bloggers who should know better -- continue to gripe? I suppose we could consider this a 101 entry point for babies that have never experienced the Academy Awards before.
1) Arts & Sports Are Not The Same Things (Duh)
Yes, we love to treat art like sports in our culture by declaring a "winner," because we all love the drama and excitement that narrative brings, but obviously they are two completely different things. Awards where art has to has to compete against itself is inherently shallow which is reason #636532 you should take the Oscars with a grain of salt and just chill. You cannot qualify “best” in art. The concept of “winning” and “losing” in art is ludicrous. Art cannot compete against each other the way sports teams can, so the concept of “better” is abstract and subjective and then therefore rather meaningless. You should already know this on a fundamental level. Understanding this is key in why you should never be upset by the Oscars (or Grammys, etc.)
2) It’s Subjective, Dummy
It's incredibly strange how Johnny Paycheck and Joe Beerswill know the definitive answer of what's "best" about art. Yes, the Academy Awards are voted on a body of members, but each of those members are voting subjectively to come up with a consensus and collective winner, but does that discredit what you think is best? Of course not. But then why are your undies in such a twist? “Rust & Bone” and “Tabu” were two of my favorite movies of 2012 and neither was even represented at the Oscars. That doesn't affect or diminish the impact it had on me. Some pundits and commenters are already crying that "Argo" is too safe, too middle of the road, but what if someone else loved it? Is their opinion “wrong”? Does it overrule yours? The point is our experience and relation to art is subjective and that's what makes art so special and powerful. It's not something actively defeating another piece of art. It's experiences we all share and all have different reactions to. Just as the Academy members do. And still knowing all this, you're still bitching. Just remember that those who generally claim Oscars are "bullshit" are the same ones saying from time to time "The academy finally got it right!" when their favorite films are nominated or win.