I have long since given up on a lot of awards ceremonies. Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, and especially the Oscars. When I was a kid I used to freaking love awards shows. I would watch them all, including American Music Awards, the MTV VMA and Movie Awards shows. Because I wanted to see quality and excellence rewarded to specific audiences. But, there was one year in particular when I knew that a wrong-doing had been committed and I stopped caring about awards shows.
The Oscars have had a long-standing tradition for giving the best movies the shaft for no apparent reason. But, there was one year I watched and I completely became aware as to what a crock the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was 1998. And a little historical fiction movie called "Saving Private Ryan" had rocked the movie watching world to its core. It was a war movie of epic scope and realistic portrayal. And it was ball-rattlingly awesome and it brought and continues to bring hardened, grown men to tears. Everyone who had seen it knew that it was hands down the best movie they had seen all year. Except for the Academy! They apparently had seen "Shakespeare in Love" and thought, "My stars and garters what a delightful ROMP! This is much better than that icky war movie." and they gave "Shakespeare in Love" the academy award for BEST PICTURE. Are you effing kidding me? I was only 15 at the time and I knew... the Oscars are a sham.
I'm bringing this up now because this year they again have nominated one of the best movies I have seen, "The Hurt Locker". And I thought that maybe they would regain some credibility in my book. That maybe the best movie would win. The Academy has zero excuse to not give "The Hurt Locker" best picture. It swept the Baftas. It won the directors guild awards, Producers guild awards, and the Critics awards. It didn't win the Golden Globes, but the Golden Globes are all purchased anyway ("I used to not be good at a lot of things. Until I found you can buy trophies. Now, I'm good at everything."-Demetri Martin). Anyway, it looked like there was a clear cut winner of Best Picture. There would be no excuse to not give it the award. Until a couple of weeks ago.
One of the producers, Nicholas Chartier, wrote an email to a lot of members of the Academy. Here is the actual email text.
I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to write you and say I hope you liked Hurt Locker and if you did and want us to win, please tell (name deleted) and your friends who vote for the Oscars, tell actors, directors, crew members, art directors, special effects people, if everyone tells one or two of their friends, we will win and not a $500M film, we need independent movies to win like the movies you and I do, so if you believe The Hurt Locker is the best movie of 2010, help us!
I’m sure you know plenty of people you’ve worked with who are academy members whether a publicist, a writer, a sound engineer, please take 5 minutes and contact them. Please call one or two persons, everything will help!
Nothing too bad, right? Well apparently this is a huge problem. Because now the academy is up in arms about the fact that the e-mail is hinting that it is in competition with Avatar (which it is.). It seems like a lot of the Academy people are deeply upset by this. So much so that there have been mentions of people asking for their ballots back so they can change their votes. AND! The producer is no longer invited to the Academy Awards! Doesn't this seem like a big time over-reaction?
It is. I don't mean to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, but, I bet that the academy is manufacturing this whole campaign. Just so that they have a reason to not give the movie that deserves to be awarded the award. But, if I truly have lost faith in the academy awards why is any of this a surprise?
-I got a lot of this info through the movie blog filmdrunk.uproxx.com