Why Film Nominations Matter (But Winners Don't)
Written By Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
So every year around this time we get to see how the various groups compile nominations for the best in film. From The Golden Globes to the Academy Awards and everyone in between. They all want to award people for a job well done and who doesn't like a little recognition? Ennio Morricone, who is nominated for Best Original Score this year for The Hateful Eight said it best, "the award shows are not for the individuals nominated, they are in recognition of the industry."
Every year I, like a lot of people, get caught up in the excitement of who will be nominated and who will get snubbed. I make my predictions for the Globes and Oscars and enjoy the roller-coaster night that follows. They are usually the duller affairs when compared to music award shows with all their musical numbers. But at least for me, the whole point of night is to see if I can get inside the head of those particular voters. That said, when I hear things like the AFI waiting a few weeks to watch Star Wars to possibly nominate it, which they did, bugs me a bit. The whole point of awards season is to get those great movies into the forefront so people go and see them, lots of these movies are so small budget that they are incapable of having big marketing campaigns to spread the word so they will strategically put them towards the end of the year in the so called "Awards Season" so that they are fresh in voters minds come nominations. What those nominations do is push these smaller films into the spotlight for those who don't follow movies closely. Now it's nice to get a Star Wars or a Dark Knight in there for the sake of brand recognition and ratings but only if it deserves to be there. If it's at the expense of a better lesser known movie not making the cut, that is a real blow to the movie and the industry. If excellent movies with low budgets are going to get made, finding ways to spread the word is the key to getting more great movies made. Everyone already knows about Star Wars, they have been beaten over the head with ads, and chances are they have an idea if there re going to see it without the help from a nomination because their friends will be the ones to nominate it and you'll go and see it, possibly twice.
The other problem I personally run into is the winners of the awards, sure it can be nice to crown a winner and you hope it's your pick, most times its not and that's ok, what matters is it was nominated. What if it's not? Then you best set the internet a blaze with your cries of snubbery! While spreading the word of your outrage doesn't help much in the grand scheme of things at least you can feel like you stuck it to the so called man, in this case, Mister Oscar. The Oscar voters are made up of 2500+ members which is a great, if industry biased, base. The Globes have just 83 people who vote so they are that much more narrow in their movie preferences. However both the Academy and Globes are considered to be “experts” so at least they are making informed decisions and are probably void Michael Bay fan boys and strictly rom com lovers. And what about those winners they choose? When was the last time you watched The Artist? The King's Speech? 12 Years A Slave? All of those won for Best Picture but I'm guessing not all of you have it as a favourite movie now, despite the experts saying it's the best movie of the year. Now they are certainly good movies (although i personally really disliked The King's Speech) they are also tiny budgets with small marketing campaigns that now a lot of people know about and have seen and that is really the whole point.
What I've enjoyed recently is the Rotten Tomatoes scores popping up for a movie in trailers and as stickers on Blu-rays. While not perfect, the percentage of positive reviews is usually displayed but not the average score which is a better indication of quality. A 98% and a 82% film can both get 8/10 average for instance. As a rough guide I find that to be a much better indicator of a movies overall merit. A certified fresh movie takes a much more diverse group of people into consideration when giving the “two thumbs up”. It has become a virtual word of mouth for the industry. Now more than ever if a movie is good it will do better because sites like Rotten Tomatoes spread the word of it's greatness in an easy percentage based system that anyone can understand. It also works in the opposite direction, making terrible films tank at the box office. This is a good thing for the industry as well, helping make better movies people actually want to see.
So whether you agree or disagree with their picks for winners, when you watch any award show this season remember that it's all just a way to celebrate the greatness of film and how it transports us to new worlds or reshape our thoughts on the world we know. Movies are meant to be enjoyed and award season aims to help you find some hidden gems to lose yourself in for a few hours along side your already inevitable Star Wars marathon. Happy watching!