The Oscars are the most high-profile award show in the film industry, and the most blatantly elitist. During the Academy Awards season, Hollywood’s largest studios shell out colossal sums of dough to promote their most acclaimed films to the Oscars’ judging body, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in the hopes of scoring the notorious awards.
In the past, notable films such as “A Star is Born,” “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” have seen studios spend between $20 to 30 million on their campaigns. If money talks, the Academy listens — all three movies, like other films with enormous spending campaigns, scored big-time at the Oscars, winning a ton of awards and more importantly, major press.
The point is this: the Academy Awards are not a ceremony recognizing cinematic and filmmaking talent; they are a pretentious and glorified advertising symposium.
However, pretending that the Oscars are actually merit-based and do mean more than squat, this article will evaluate the righteousness of this Academy Award season’s nominations. So, here are this year’s snubs — filmmaking achievements which were not recognized by the Academy, but should have been — and dubs, nominations that the Academy actually got right.
Our first snub is in the “Directing” category, for which Wes Anderson deserved a nomination for his work on “The French Dispatch.” As reviewed by one of the FSView’s senior film critics, the film was one of 2021’s best, due in part to Anderson’s fan-lauded direction. Symmetrical cinematography, eccentric characters and an intimate narrative all make Anderson’s direction in this film unforgettable and deserving of bountiful praise, which should have been recognized by the Academy.
For his portrayal of Richard Williams in “King Richard,” The Academy hit a home run with Will Smith’s nomination of “Actor in a Leading Role.” In the film, Smith plays the father of up-and-coming tennis star sisters Serena and Venus Williams. He presents a distressed yet ambitious father hell-bent on seeing his daughters succeed in life. His drive streams from the silver screen and by the end of the film, entire theaters of audiences were inspired to go out and follow their dreams.
Finishing off this article with one of the Oscar’s more low-key awards, “Dune” is well deserving of the “Production Design” nomination. An adaptation of Frank Herbert’s celebrated science fiction novel of the same title, Patrice Vermette perfectly captures the look of “Dune’s” unique sci-fi style. Identifiable and prominent objects in the book — stillsuits, crysknife and sandworms — look gritty, believable and will satisfy the most hardened “Dune” fans.
In the end, many argue the Academy Awards do not mean anything and are put on just for corporate promotion. Just because something wins an award does not mean it is any good, and vice versa. Referenced by the fact that the Academy Awards’ viewership keeps getting lower and lower by the year, it seems humanity is finally making progress in the right direction.