Award season is a long road. It all starts out with hubbub about a film that sparked acclaim on the festival circuit, followed by increased word-of-mouth when the movie begins an “exclusive engagement” in a modest independent theatre. The season is in full-effect when those indies start receiving showtimes in larger chains.
This entire process brings out the movie dork in everyone – it doesn’t matter if you’ve deliberately distanced yourself from it. Every day leading up to the Oscars, there’s always an ongoing discussion that you can’t help but sink into. Whether it’s about a filmmaker’s praised artistic vision or the politics the movie is triggering. It’s no surprise why people bet on winners and contribute to a pool when the Oscar nominations drop.
I used to organize my own Oscar pool with friends and family – I had a tendency to lose. My vague education of nominated short films and foreign flicks would be my inevitable Achilles heel, along with random upsets from unexpected actors and screenwriters.
I don’t pull out the stops anymore for an Oscar pool; just an arranged deal with my wife where the loser cooks the winner a dinner of their choice. I can’t help but feel this year would be tough to predict considering the repetition in most categories, and the constant power shifts between trending flicks La La Land and Moonlight. All the other films, including audience favourites Hidden Figures and Hacksaw Ridge, seem to be very close in competition.
Speaking of the repetition, this year’s Oscar nominations are dry and severely missing ambition. As expected, there are straight-out snubs (the omissions of animated flick The Little Prince and the musically-savvy Sing Street to name a couple), but the list is missing a smattering of mysterious wildcards. To cite one of the only few, I kind of like how Suicide Squad is nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling – its chances of winning are actually fairly even too.
Award ceremonies need those outside-the-box entires in order to have versatility. It’s a way to better connect with mainstream audiences and show widespread acknowledgement. Without versatility, the awards are on autopilot and I’m left making homemade hamburgers.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie