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Why Paul Schrader May Not Open His Oscar Ballot This Year

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 10, 2013 at 4:18PM

Paul Schrader: "I find this escalating media chatter regarding film society awards, Oscar handicapping and promotional gimmicks increasingly tiresome. This year I declined to submit a selection to Film Comment's year's best list. I stopped voting for DGA and WGA awards last year and for the first time since 1976, when I was privileged to be accepted into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, I may leave my Oscar ballot unopened."
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Paul Schrader
Paul Schrader

In case you haven't noticed, the awards noise is reaching a crescendo about now. And writer-director Paul Schrader for one, is sick of it. I asked the writer-director ("Blue Collar," "American Gigolo," "The Canyons") to expand on his recent Facebook rant about why he has decided to opt out of the awards process. Here it is:

Is it my age or is it the times? I find this escalating media chatter regarding film society awards, Oscar handicapping and promotional gimmicks increasingly tiresome. This year I declined to submit a selection to Film Comment's year's best list. I stopped voting for DGA and WGA awards last year and for the first time since 1976, when I was privileged to be accepted into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, I may leave my Oscar ballot unopened.

Why? Every year I've exercised my deeply appreciated right to vote for the annual Oscar awards. But now I am sickened by the shameless monied huckstering of the vote procuring process, the endless drumbeat of best-of lists, the proliferating of minor and major critics group awards, the notion that any blogger announcing his/her "best film" merits consideration--well, eck! 

Yes, this ecky ecosphere has been evolving for a dozen years but now, for me, it's reached a breaking point. The essential role film criticism plays in film culture is being eaten alive by the Buzzfeed zeitgeist. Driven by "For Your Consideration" dollars. It's no longer a matter of content, it's a matter of clicks. What can be done? Well, one can always walk away if only out of self worth. Why, as BD said, be a pawn in their game?

This article is related to: Paul Schrader, Facebook, Writers Guild Awards, Awards, Awards Season Roundup, Awards, Critics Groups, Critics, Oscars


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