Anyone familiar with apologetics? It’s this concept that reasoned communication in support of a theory, belief or doctrine (usually spiritual) will help win people over to that belief, and the idea behind it is that this method of discussion is actually more useful than the typical debate format.
Now don’t get too far ahead of yourself dear readers. I suspect some of you may already be thinking to yourselves… Here we go, we know the topic is the Academy Awards, and the title is referencing the decision-making process behind it. Oh timotheories, you small, silly, social savant, you are about to tell us why the Academy Awards are really actually quite good and that we shouldn’t scrutinize an American institution which is biased “white washing” and ignoring people of minorities.
And you wouldn’t be wrong to say that I am going to address this, because quite frankly it’s out there, and it seems like my Facebook feed and half the articles I’ve seen on other social media are discussing this topic. So let’s get topical, because it’s important.
The Oscars are almost 100 years old, and they are run by mostly American filmmakers. I cannot stress the importance of that word enough. American. Look at what Wikipedia has to say about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) –
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy’s corporate management and general policies are overseen by a Board of Governors, which includes representatives from each of the craft branches.
The roster of the Academy’s approximately 6,000 motion picture professionals is a “closely guarded secret.” While the great majority of its members are based in the United States, membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world.
The problem is inherent. You ask someone to rate something and they will do the best they can given their knowledge and experience. And that’s in a vacuum. But when you make that rating system important, segmented, and secret, it creates inbreeding of the worst kind. The authors of these votes are hidden, they cultivate a look and feel for their event, and they want to keep it that way.
After all, that’s what we’ve come to expect.
Someone might say to you, don’t blame the Academy members, they are only voting based on what they know. And I would agree that it’s true that the Academy is working to maintain it’s position whether it’s consciously destructive or not. But that root issue is whether the institution should be allowed to continue to operate the way it does or whether it needs competition and possibly a replacement. Obviously it’s more complex than just wanting one of those outcomes, but change needs to start somewhere.
Because even if we were to overlook the fact that this is an American organization that puts on an award show for films (mostly American films), the United States is made up of more than just Caucasian males, so American movies should be awarded based on a representation of the American population. On the other side of the coin, if you have supported the institution you can’t get mad at it because it’s been defined by it’s public support over the last 87 years.
Think about that for a minute. People watch the show.
Millions of people around the world tune in to watch an American film awards ceremony and complain that it’s flawed. No shit, really? Well we live in a time when democracy, free will, and striving for equality are on everyone’s lips. Subversion and evolution is slow-going, unless enough change happens quickly and at the same time to force a shift in priorities, this won’t change, and we’ll continue to complain about it for decades.
So we have to decide something as individuals. Do we boycott the Oscars? Do we complain about the Oscars on social media and traditional media, through petition? Do we fund organizations that support diversity and quality of film rather than very specific criteria based on opinions dictated by a hidden membership?
Well, shit. I guess you’ve made it this far, so you must want to know what timotheories really thinks about it. We support the rights of representation by population. Organizations should exist to support the majority. Which means that Canadian films should be supported at Canadian awards shows, American films at American ones, and so on, and so forth. What we all should be supporting at the end of February every year is a global award show that showcases the best in film internationally.
So long story short, I think you should watch the Academy Awards, so that you can understand what is wrong with it, and then speak out about it and know what a film awards ceremony should look like. Please also support organizations which are young, so that older institutions like AMPAS have to evolve or die. That’s the only way to see real change.
For you Edmontonians, one way to enjoy this experience is by heading over to Garneau Theatre and joining Metro Cinema as they guest host the event from the comfort of your local independent movie theatre. Metro Cinema is an amazing organization which supports diversity of film and grass roots change is really the best place to start. As I’m sure you already know, dear readers, this event called the Oscars usually takes more than 2-3 hours to complete, so the organizers at the theatre have prepared something special for you to get yourself in the mood and on par with the festivities. Check it out, you just might see me there.
But what do you think? Am I off my rocker? Too much of an idealist, not enough realist? Am I cynical? A white male moron? Please leave some comments and subscribe. I wanna get better.
Those are all of the theories I’ve got for today dear readers, I’ll see you on Sunday with something stimulating!