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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

How the Oscars fail to celebrate true exceptionalism

In an attempt to exempt themselves from inequality, award shows further prove their vanity and narrow-mindedness.
THE+GREAT+ILLUSION+From+snubbed+talents+to+undeserved+victories%2C+it%E2%80%99s+time+to+confront+the+ramifications+of+rigged+awards+in+ceremonies+like+the+Oscars.
THE MIRROR | DIEGO AGUIRRE
THE GREAT ILLUSION From snubbed talents to undeserved victories, it’s time to confront the ramifications of rigged awards in ceremonies like the Oscars.

The abridged version of this article appeared in the June. 2023 print edition of The Mirror. This is an uncut version.

Award shows have always been predetermined displays of fraudulence, designed to systematically glorify vanity, popular opinion, and pay-offs. With no shortage of undeserved wins over the years, the question of whether these events are rigged has been posed many times. Let’s examine the most prominent award show of the past year to illustrate the apparent discrepancy of the supposed unanimous vote.

The 95th consecutive Academy Awards ceremony took place earlier this spring on March 12, with a total of seven accolades going to A24’s independent blockbuster phenomenon “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” I happen to love this film quite a bit, but even I felt somewhat indifferent to the excessive amount of praise surrounding it. Not that it isn’t a film worth undying affection—it certainly is—but I think we all had a slightly sour taste in our mouths when all was said and done.

One of the many downsides from this night included the peculiar decision to award Jamie Lee Curtis the Best Supporting Actress category, not just against other actresses like Kerry Condon, Hong Chau, and Angela Bassett, but especially against Stephanie Hsu. As another “Everything Everywhere All At Once” cast member, Hsu played a far more prominent emotional role in the movie and had significantly more screen time. This odd choice, when considered, doesn’t make a strong case for the supposed voting process we’ve all been skeptical about regarding this blatant display of Hollywood superficiality.

With a staggering 397 new members joining the Academy last year, an influx of fresh perspectives was expected, as evidenced by this year’s somewhat indie-centric lineup, which particularly favored A24.

It’s evident that the Oscars are striving for change and attempting to create an equal playing field for films from around the world.

However, this effort falls short: “Everything Everywhere All At Once” may boast a predominantly Asian cast with genuine talent, but it was a film that had to win. Through internet buzz and the relentless noise of social media, everyone and their grandmother had heard about this movie. It embodies what the Oscars want to project: a unique and refreshing genre-blend with unconventional heroes and an emotional chord that resonates powerfully with younger audiences. Choosing any other film would have provoked an uproar.

Am I upset it won Best Picture? No.

Were Todd Field’s “Tár,” Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness” superior movies? Yes.

For a time, the Oscars were simply about producer payoffs, insider glorification, legacies, and popularity contests. Now that the public gravitates towards more obscure works, the awards will conveniently follow suit. While the Academy is technically being inclusive, it’s merely performing a disingenuous act of self-importance.

Jamie Lee Curtis’ win was primarily due to her legacy and contributions to the industry. While I’ll concede that the same can’t be said for Steven Spielberg or John Williams, both of whom were nominated, they’ve already won Oscars in the past.

It’s easy to see where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences believes it’s heading, but this change in direction doesn’t differ much from the strategies they’ve employed since the industry’s inception.

Every film nominated for the foreign film category was written and directed by white European men. There was no love for Park-chan Wook’s “Decision to Leave,” Sebastian Meise’s “Great Freedom,” or even previous Oscar-winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Spanish-language “Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths.” And while S.S. Rajamouli’s “RRR” might have won the award for Best Original Song, it was the only category in which it was nominated and wasn’t even considered for the foreign film category.

To want to be inclusive is one thing, but to simply claim you are without giving due credit to the international populus and accolades is just absurd. It’s evident that the Academy Awards have never been about the quality, but one can only hope there will be a genuine shift in transparency in the future.

 

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About the Contributor
Dashiell Dekker
Dashiell Dekker, Arts & Entertainment Co-Editor
Dashiell Dekker is the Arts and Entertainment Co-Editor. He is a senior in his fourth and final year in high school journalism. His innate passion for media resonates in his film reviews, which he is consistently writing. He hopes to carry his affinity for entertainment journalism into the future, but above anything else, he aspires to be a director.
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