Oscar Buzz Turns into Major Drag

Matthew Greenberg, Sports Editor


The build-up to this year’s 85th Academy Awards was filled with some of the greatest films of the modern era. Snubs were plentiful in major categories due to the vastness of high quality films up for nominations, most notably Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow not getting nominated for Best Director for Best Picture-nominees Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively.

This was one of the first times in many years that any film, let alone multiple films, received nominations for Best Picture but did not get the nod for Best Director. Appropriately, the Hollywood community was up in arms over such drastic oversights. It was not a matter so much that one film deserved a nomination any more or less than another (although certain films were seemingly automatic), but more so a case of films that so obviously deserved nominations were left out. It was for this exact reason that the field for Best Picture nominations was widened from the standard five movies to however many the Academy determined most deserving. They may have gotten the nomination process for Best Picture solved, but other categories continue to suffer.

Another point of contestation could be found within the Best Foreign Film category. This year, Amour was nominated  for both Best Foreign Film and Best Picture. This is a questionable decision for various reasons. How is it fair that simply because a film is foreign it is able to receive two nominations for essentially the same award? That is not to say that winning for Best Picture carries less clout than Best Foreign Film, it obviously does not, but the two categories are nearly identical in the process for nominee consideration. It is simply the best movie overall, one category just happens to have a disclaimer requiring the films be foreign to earn consideration. This makes little sense. A betting man would therefore just do his absolute best to make the greatest film of all time, but film it in a language other than English, thereby earning two seemingly identical awards for the same criteria. This is an issue, albeit minor, that should be addressed by the Academy in coming years.

A lot of media and social coverage concerning the Oscars revolved around host Seth MacFarlane. As the creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show, MacFarlane is no stranger to pushing buttons and becoming as offensive as he sees fit. He started the show well enough by joking, “And the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now.” Tommy Lee Jones thought that was funny. Unfortunately, MacFarlane has been receiving plenty of bad press after he apparently took some jokes too far. Religious groups were angered after his comments about Jews controlling Hollywood, fans of pop culture were upset about his referencing Django Unchained as a film version of an average Chris Brown and Rhianna date night, and feminists were ticked off about his hilarious song, “We Saw Your Boobs,” in which MacFarlane rattled off a laundry list of actresses who have done topless scenes in various films throughout their careers.

Honestly, these are absurd claims and anyone who was offended on any level, particularly a personal one, should just grow up and develop a backbone. His jokes may not have been targeted at every audience on the planet, but he is a skillful actor and a great presenter, and he would not have been given the job if he wasn’t capable of coming through with a solid performance. If you ask the creator of Family Guy to host an award show and you aren’t expecting to be humorously offended, you’re going to have a bad time.

The main reason that the Oscars were a bust this year was not because of MacFarlane, nor was it because of one film sweeping every category and monopolizing the evening. Plain and simple, the show was boring. Every act that took place was well done and interesting enough to watch, whether it was one of MacFarlane’s bits, the entire cast of Les Miserables performing one last time, or Shirley Bassey giving a stirring rendition of “Goldfinger” to cap off a tribute to 50 years of James Bond, but something about the format of the show itself seemed to drag on and on. This became clear when the show ran for almost four hours instead of the scheduled three, and culminated with Jack Nicholson being told to speak faster during his presentation of the Oscar for Best Picture.

Life of Pi received the most awards with four Oscars. Argo and Les Miserables followed up with three Oscars apiece. Django Unchained and Lincoln managed two Oscars each, while Zero Dark Thirty received only a single Oscar. See below for the winners of major categories, and for a complete list of all the nominees and winners visit oscar.go.com.