For a few years, the Oscars got quite a lot of my attention. It’s not that I often agreed with the Academy’s choice, but I did try and make sure I’d seen as many as possible of the nominated films, and was eager to engage in commentary about the rights and wrongs of the Academy’s choices.
This year, I’ve found myself almost entirely disinterested. But I did read Stephanie Zecharek’s overview—”Let’s Beat Up On The Oscars“—and enjoyed a couple of sections enough to want to share.
But the idea of being deserving or not is beside the point with the Oscars: Most of us watch the ceremony on TV as a way of matching up our own ragtag sets of likes and dislikes with those of the Hollywood professionals, who — ostensibly — know what they’re doing. That’s part of the fun, and even our frustration with the Academy is part of the fun. So why beat up on them?
Because beating up on them is also fun.
In his speech on Tuesday, President Obama cited a number of human traits that can help us get through hard times: Curiosity was one of them. The Academy Award nominations this year, as they do every year, offered a few surprises amid a gaggle of complete nonsurprises. The Academy — film professionals, all of them — appear, as a group, to be professionally uncurious. I’m certain civilian moviegoers are a much more adventurous group. In seeking out what’s truly imaginative, engaging or moving, we have to be our own pioneers.