The Issue with the Modern Oscars

Jeremy Castillo Hernandez

The Oscars are awards that celebrate the artistic feature of films released in the previous year. This preceding year we have been presented many films that we would consider “hits”. Whether you’re into superheroes or drama, this past year could be considered the revival of the moviegoing experience, but when Oscar nominees were released on February 8th, it was clear that there was definitely an issue with the category of Best Picture.

Jimmy Kimmel, a public supporter of this issue, said, “Why do Best Picture nominees have to be serious? When did that become a prerequisite for getting nominated for an Academy Award?” which is an easy claim to agree with. If we inspect this year’s nominees for Best Picture, we see that they tend to take a more serious tone. Almost all of these films fall into the genre of drama, which is not a bad thing, but it makes the Oscars much more of a bland experience. 

It should also be considered that some of these movies can only be found on streaming services. Power of the Dog (the most nominated film for the Oscars) might have had an audience, but could this movie’s nomination be more justified if it had been more accessible to movie theater viewers? If there were more publicly viewed and accepted movies on the nominee list, the Oscars would become a more captivating award ceremony. 

The surprising part is that the idea of nominating serious films for Best Picture was not always an Oscar tradition. Upon further study we see that films like Black Panther, Toy Story 3, Jaws, and Rocky were once nominated for Best Picture. 

This claim is not to discourage anyone wanting to see the Oscars, but if a lack of interest occurs this year we at least know a potential cause. You can’t argue that when you see a great movie and believe it has potential to get nominated for Best Picture it’s quite disappointing to find out it was nominated for only Best Sound Editing or Best Visual Effects.

Adding a blockbuster to the Best Picture category doesn’t hurt anyone; in fact it would attract a larger audience. It’s understandable that The Oscars are centered around the art aspect of movies, but if duct-taping a banana to a wall is considered art, it may be time for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to reconsider their strategy for selecting nominees.