The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Oscars 2015: Don’t put too much stock in the Academy


There have been many discussions over the nominees and potential frontrunners for this year’s Academy Awards. But what difference does it really make? While it can often be a fun exercise to praise or lament a subjective list given by a privatized organization, the fact remains that it is little more than an arbitrary collection, and does not have to be understood as the be all, end all judge of 2014’s cinema successes.

Immediately following the release of the nominees for the Academy Awards, there was, as usual, rather heated discussion over the selections and why certain films were “snubbed”, which is specifically to say, why they were rejected in favor of other choices. There were of course, the out cries over the failure to even nominate The Lego Movie for Best Animated Picture, the choice not to nominate Selma for Best Actor or Best Director, and such other instances. And while some of these decisions may warrant disagreement, they in no way even deserve the level of controversy that has arisen. What does it truly matter what the Academy Awards believe is a good film or not? One need not look to them for guidance or approval.

If one wishes to determine whether The Lego Movie was a great animated picture, one should watch The Lego Movie. If one believes that Selma is not only a strong film, but also a proponent of Civil Rights, one should watch Selma. Alternatively, if one thinks that Ava DuVernay is an excellent director, one should also watch Selma. Films are, as all art, inherently subjective. By sake of existence, there cannot be a universally “great” film, because the understanding of the conditions and attributes of “great” will likely never be fully agreed upon.

For the most part, people are deciding for themselves what films they believe were the best experiences, and which they would want to watch again. There is little gain from debating the Oscar nominations, other than having an established, prestigious, critic entity to bounce dissent off of. Other than that, the debate’s benefits are limited. In fact, the only ones who actually profit from maintaining such vehement disagreements, are our friendly, honest, and obviously non-parasitic, members of the media opinion community, who have once again seized an opportunity to stir controversy for the sake of a free week’s worth of content over an issue that should last, at most, several hours of discussion.

Once again, in the face of a lack of news to critique, or really just an initiative to seek it out, media writers once again opted to unnecessarily escalate virtual disagreement into virtual dismemberment. Now while this writer may be guilty of similarly writing on a purely trending topic, albeit several weeks late, and would through himself to the mercy of the court of public opinion, if it possessed any, he at least does not induce entire outlets to pour yet another tempest out of the teapot. When the nominations were first released, there was controversy, and regardless of what decision the Academy makes, there will certainly be those in the media who will try to stir up a storm yet again, for a few days of perpetual outrage. It’s one thing for people to be passionate about a film, and its value in society; it’s another entirely to actively seize upon that passion to bait readers into a frenzy so that news outlets can sell more clicks and more ads. And all over the opinion of a “prestigious” group of film critics, because someone else said their opinion was the most important.

Ultimately, a piece of art such as a film can be infinitely debated, and the best works are still discussed decades after their release. Orson Well’s Citizen Kane is often cited as one of the greatest films of all time, but had mixed critiques upon its initial release, which would continue for years to come, until future audiences began to recognize its strength as a film.

On the matter of what the best film of 2014 is, one could listen to the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, a myriad of reviewers, or one could take the true challenge, and watch all of them, and then decide for themselves what the best film was. The opinion of any critic need never completely override the opinion of the individual audience member. As long as one enjoyed a film, whatever the reason, one need not heed the calls away from it, simply because others did not share the same experience. One’s enjoyment of art ultimately belongs solely to oneself.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Oscars 2015: Don’t put too much stock in the Academy