Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Few Thoughts on that "Brutally Honest" Oscar Voter

In an article published today on The Hollywood Reporter, an anonymous Oscar voter came forward to share their opinions. With the headlines promising a "brutally honest" take on the awards, it has caused a necessary amount of hoopla. Since ballot submission was closed off yesterday, there's plenty of speculation on what is going to happen in the remaining days before the awards are handed out. While this is unprecedented, what is more baffling is the simple dismissal of almost every film. While this could be indicative on who is likely to win, it also is more indicative of a stubborn fool who wants attention without getting blacklisted by the community.

The quote that's getting the most attention comes for Selma, which has been the subject of frequent complaints regarding the award's diversity this year. However, this person went so far as to suggest that the film has "no art" and was baffled by the cast and crew showing up in shirts reading "I Can't Breathe" to the film's premiere. This raises argument if the personal politics has overshadowed the film's actual chances much like the anti-gay campaigns that were risen to detract from Brokeback Mountain. In fact, they claim that had the film been directed by a 60-year-old white man, it wouldn't make a difference. On another note, this person goes on to praise American Sniper along with The Imitation Game.

I could go into all of the complaints, but it would be too troublesome (the link is in the first paragraph). What is the bigger problem here is that this kind of behavior is tolerated. Yes, I am aware that film is a subjective medium and as such won't appeal to everyone. However, it is your job to watch the selected films and vote on them as a professional. Don't go blabbering about what you didn't watch or assault films that you didn't agree with. Somebody liked it. Why else would it get a Best _____ nomination? To hear this person go on about turning off Inherent Vice for being dull or Patricia Arquette regretting doing Boyhood because it showed her age only shows further bias within the industry. On the bright side, they do like The Grand Budapest Hotel.

It is hard to not just let this individual speak for the entire community. While I admit that I am equally fascinated by what's wrong with the Oscars as I am revering their legacy, I find that voters have done justice by not making their ballot public. It is in cases like this where one anonymous speaker (which is cowardice anyways) manages to alter a vision for the general public's opinion. In fact, most of this comes out as catty and ill informed. While there are some tame opinions scattered throughout, including their disbelief that Boyhood would be nominated (which is technically not an attack), it reads more like a friend trying to convince everyone that they're cool while accepting that their different taste in films is somehow authoritative. 

This may have all been a marketing ploy by the website to capture our attentions and heat up our collars. Even then, why would they choose to participate in such a shoddy thing unless they had an agenda to expose the Oscars' weakness? Unless this anonymous person comes forward, this story really has no credibility other than to annoy those of us who didn't personally vote and at all reflect the Oscars professionally in the most shameful way possible. We all love and hate films, but to accuse some of having "no art" or calling Nightcrawler "unpleasant" seems unfair. Next time, keep your mouth shut and be thankful that you get to vote at all, even if it was for something like The Imitation Game.

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