Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oscar Fatigue, Frustration, and an Announcement

Dear White People
Dear Readers.

I'm kind of over the Oscars. Aren't you? While I was still excited to tune in on Sunday night to see the dresses and the suits and hear the jokes and see people who make the movies I love being friends with each other and all that good stuff, the actual ceremony itself left me cold. Sure, there were amazing performances. Common and John Legend absolutely nailed it with their song "Glory". Lady Gaga sure pulled it out with her tribute to The Sound of Music. And Neil Patrick Harris apparently really likes puns.

But the awards? Not something I cared deeply about. My investment went about far enough to make me feel pretty good about having predicted most of the major awards, and no further. The simple fact of the matter is that I have only seen two of the eight films nominated for Best Picture (Selma and The Imitation Game), and that wasn't for a lack of opportunity, it's from a lack of interest.*

And that's a problem. Not just because I and pretty much everyone I know was deeply uninvolved in this year's awards, but because that seems to suggest that the Oscars themselves are becoming irrelevant. That as they perpetuate themselves, old white men nominating old white men in old white movies, they sort of shove themselves off the side of the world while we all vaguely watch them fall. Is this a bad thing? I'm not sure.

Top Five
I am sure, however, that Sunday night's show did not represent the best of filmmaking last year. Sure, some of the movies that were up for awards really were amazing. A lot of them were incredible feats of skill and worthy of recognition. But there were also a lot of other movies that came out in 2014, movies that were also of great skill and emotional weight and worthy of recognition. Movies that didn't get nearly the credit they deserve.

It might seem petty to complain about the Oscars not noticing my kind of movies, but I swear it's not. Because while, yes, I wish that more movies that I am vaguely interested in would get nominated for Oscars, it's more complex than that. The Oscars now represent the highest virtue to which a film can aspire. Getting an Oscar completely validates a movie that might have flopped at the box office or floundered in development for ten years. It highlights the importance of artistry and talent over money and payouts. It delivers prestige and honor to a studio for making movies that take risks and dare and are good.

I love the idea of what the Oscars represent to Hollywood. What I hate is what they've become. An industry. A tired factory that churns out "great man" biopics every December. A way for studios to write off their losses and wave around a little trophy that expresses how artistic they are, how above the crass monetary angle they feel. Getting an Oscar is a way for an actor or director or producer to claim that they're "legit". But it's also a way to reward a single film or person and cover over the way Hollywood has abused all the films and people like them.

In short, I love the idea of the Oscars. But I freaking hate the reality.

Under the Skin
Didn't you feel it too? The drawling sameness of the movies nominated this year? The slow realization that almost all of the films nominated for Best Picture were about a troubled (male) genius struggling to make his vision a reality while the whole world works against him. 

He might be crazy or socially maladjusted or kind of a jerk but in the end he's still a genius at whatever it is he does. They were all stories of great men doing the kind of things men do. Stories about white masculinity (for the most part), and what it means to be a man.

None of them were really new or surprising or fresh. Well, I mean, I really loved Selma, but you get what I mean. They were all good, well made movies, but the best? I'm not so sure.

So what am I getting at here? Why complain about this, especially now that it's over and done with? Why bother at all?

Because I still think that awards shows matter in the way they create a non-monetary goal for films to aspire to, and because I quite frankly want some recognition for the many films of 2014 that didn't get their moment in the sun, I am proposing we make our own awards. That's right, Kiss My Wonder Woman is creating our very own awards show competition: The Undies. As in, the underappreciated films of 2014. Get your mind out of the gutter!

We're going to have our own party because they won't invite us to theirs, and the movies we focus on are going to be the ones that the Oscars, and to a lesser extent the others awards shows, completely missed this year. The hidden gems. The brilliant performances in weirdo box office flops or giant action tentpoles. We're looking for greatness wherever it dwells, and we're not going to stop until we find it. And since greatness knows no gender or race, we're going to look at a much more diverse range of films and performances than the Oscars bothered with.

The Book of Life
The Undies will be an invitational voting competition. I'll get to what that means in a minute. Films will be sorted into five categories: big budget, mid-range, micro-budget, foreign language, and animated. Big budget films are films with a production budget of more than $100 million. Mid-range films had a production budget of less than $100 million but more than $10 million. And micro-budget films had a budget under $10 million. I feel like the foreign language and animated categories are self-explanatory. 

Each film category will have five films in it and the voters will then vote for the very best. Those best film winners from each category will then be entered into one super category and only one film will emerge victorious! Sound fun? Well, hang on, there's more!

We're going to need voters if this is going to work. Lots and lots of voters who are willing to see at least five movies and give some real critical thought to which one of those films is objectively the best at telling a story that is moving, innovative, and that adds something new to our perception of the world. Film is incredibly subjective, so we need lots of help to do this right.

Because it's a bit of a time commitment to watch all these movies and think hard thoughts about them, each voter gets to pick which category they would like to vote in. So if you pick "big budget", you're going to commit to watching the five big budget nominees and nothing more. If you want, you can also elect to vote in the "best overall" category, but then you're committing to watching those five movies as well. Got it? Good.

Clearly you all now want to be voters for The Undies! How can you make that happen?

By emailing us at kissmywonderwoman@gmail.com. This is how we're going to send out the final lists of nominees, keep track of who's voting for what, help you find a copy of the films to watch, etc. So if you want to vote, email in and let us know. (It'll also help keep this from being invaded by trolls, because that's always a possibility.)

Any questions? If so, shoot us an email or list them in the comments below. And because I know you're all positively pining to know, here are the first draft unrefined lists of the nominees for each category:

Interstellar
Big Budget
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Edge of Tomorrow
Interstellar
Guardians of the Galaxy
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Maleficent

Mid-Range
The 100 Foot Journey
Big Eyes
Snowpiercer
Gone Girl
Wild
Unbroken
Pride
A Most Wanted Man
Top Five
Under the Skin
Lucy
A Most Violent Year
Rosewater
Snowpiercer

Micro Budget
The Babadook
Belle
Belle
Dear White People
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Only Lovers Left Alive
Nightcrawler
Beyond the Lights

Foreign Language
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Girlhood
Ida
Two Days, One Night
Leviathan
Two Days, One Night
Jai Ho

Animated
The Book of Life
Song of the Sea
The Wind Rises
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The LEGO Movie

If you have any additions or suggestions, put the in the comments below. And if you want to be a voter, shoot us an email at kissmywonderwoman@gmail.com, and tell us what category you want to vote in!

The Babadook
*Actually, that's not entirely true. I did want to see Birdman, but it was gone from my local theater before I got to it. But none of the others really grabbed me.

6 comments:

  1. Hi, I was wondering when are you guys gonna come back with crossover appeal? Sorry to be off topic and ask it here.

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    Replies
    1. We did a new episode this past week, but we're actually taking a break right now because everyone's too busy to commit on a regular basis.

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  2. Great idea! I support the Undies!

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  3. DAGGIT.....THANKS!!! I better get my bedpan and glucose drip ready as I catch up on even more films. Hellooooo atrophy.

    ReplyDelete