A Recap of the Oscars: Another Year of Shocking Wins and Disappointing Losses

Christian Foley ’20, Life & Style Columnist

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The Oscars continued their tradition of being out of touch with the current state of film with their decision to reward Green Book the Best Picture Award. 

Despite claiming to be about solving racial injustice and focusing on individual growth, critics, film fans and filmmakers alike have criticized the film for doing exactly the opposite. From its inaccurate portrayal of Dr. Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali who won Best Supporting Actor) to its apparent white savior theme, it seemed as though everyone except the Academy agreed this film was not worthy of the award. Not to mention, due to recent sexual harassment allegations of the film’s director Peter Farrelly, everyone sat down Sunday night expecting either Roma or BlacKkKlansman to walk away with the award. 

Sadly, those who felt that way have not reflected on the Academy’s historically consistent decision to pick films popular over acclaimed ones (see Forrest Gump winning over Pulp Fiction). Green Book was not a bad film, but it was average at best. Like that of fellow nominee Bohemian Rhapsody, its glaring inaccuracies seemed to overshadow its entertaining qualities, or at least they should have. Director Spike Lee apparently stormed out after the decision was announced. After a career of making legendary and thought-provoking films that challenged the framework of America, and not winning any Oscars for them, many believed this was Lee’s year to “break through.” Unfortunately, it was not. Maybe the Oscar’s decision to exclude Lee’s work reflects one of the reasons Lee makes films centered around the issues he does.

Many believed the Academy took a step forward when it awarded Moonlight Best Picture over La La Land two years ago, showing their realization that people want films about current issues over the old Hollywood Golden Age landscape. This year’s nominees seemed to do that with themes of political confrontation (Vice and BlacKkKlansman) as well as identity (Roma, Bohemian Rhapsody  and even A Star is Born) on the forefront. However, the Academy seems to instead reflect our current national atmosphere of exclusion, misrepresentation and inaccuracy. Hopefully both can change.

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