Leo finally won a Best Actor award!
I love films. For the amount of time I spend talking about them, this should be kind of obvious. I love going to the cinema, I love watching films at home, I love talking to others about them, I love dissecting them, I love trying to understand what makes them work to inform my own attempts at writing. And yet, I have no idea why The Oscars even exist.
I’ve complained about them a lot in the past, mostly about the type of films that they lead to, but my main complaint is with how arbitrary they are. Who cares who a group of old white men thought was the best white actor that year? Who cares who Best Director is? Who cares who wins Best Make Up And Hair?
Getting annoyed about them is a complete waste of time (and yes, I know that is hypocritical of me). They don’t mean anything. Yeah, Writing on the Wall by Sam Smith won best song. So what? It’s just people’s opinions. You can’t argue with opinions, no matter how much I try.
If these awards had any kind of bearing on the industry outside of being able to add “Academy Award Nominee” at the top of a poster then maybe I’d feel differently. But really, at this point is Leonardo DiCaprio’s life really going to change now he has an Oscar? Is Spotlight going to become an even better film because it deservedly won Best Picture?
Maybe I wouldn’t be so bothered if it was a behind closed doors type deal, like Under 10’s football team giving out Most Improved Player. But to be trending on Twitter all day? For the BBC’s headline story to be DiCaprio “finally” winning Best Actor? That there are whole programmes dedicated to the red carpet, showing attractive people wearing nice clothes walking in to a building? Again, who cares?
Also, I have to take umbrage at saying DiCaprio has “finally” won Best Actor. This isn’t Scorcese being snubbed for 30 years, it’s the guy from Titanic. I like him (quite a lot, actually), but you can count on one hand the amount of remarkable performances he’s had. I can’t think of a time he’s actually been the most deserving of the award.
This isn’t a criticism of Leo, by the way. He’s a good actor. He’s good-looking, charismatic, and seems like a nice enough chap. I usually enjoy his performances. But does he really need to have an Oscar win to validate him? They don’t mean anything. I’d hope his life has been rewarding enough over the last twenty years that he doesn’t need the approval of a bunch of ill-informed judges say that, yes, you had the best acting performance that year. And is that really true, anyway?
None of this will really impact anyone’s lives beyond being a nice night out for the nominees and an addition to their Wikipedia page. It means even less for those of us sitting at home.
Where it does become a problem is how it impacts the quality of films that come out. I’ve spent more than enough time criticising Oscar-bait films (I promise this will be my last rant on it. Until next year, anyway) but what you end up with is someone like DiCaprio, who has had a fine career doing what he loves, having to turn out “serious” films in order to be taken seriously for awards that don’t actually mean anything. Is his performance in The Revenant really any better than in The Wolf of Wall Street? Does it matter?
Ultimately, the designation of “best” is arbitrary at the best of times. You can get away with it in sport, but film is a hard one to call. Is Spotlight really any better than The Revenant? Personally, I might prefer it, but you may not. Are either of us wrong?
After all, Spotlight only won Best Original Screenplay, whereas Revenant won Best Actor, Best Director and Best Cinematography. So how does Spotlight deserve best film above that? Are they claiming that the screenplay is more important than acting, direction and visuals? If so, why even bother having Best Picture?
Really, it’s just an opportunity for what is already a pretty self-congratulatory industry slap each other on the back one more time, and just adds another piece of revision for pub quiz enthusiasts. Beyond this, it’s essentially worthless.
But still, congrats to Leo, I guess. Maybe he’ll buy another yacht to celebrate or something.
The Oscars Rating: The Alan Partridge shrug. Over and over again.
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