Who Cares About the Oscars Anyway?

In an #OscarsSoWhite kind of world, should we still care about the awards?

The Oscars
The Oscars (Abhilash Baddha for The Juggernaut)

Snigdha Sur

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January 15, 2020

Yet another Oscars season, yet another outcry over #OscarsSoWhite (no spoilers here: they still are). Academy member Stephen King, who defended the nominations, tweeted: “For me, the diversity issue — as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway — did not come up. That said...,” followed with “...I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”

I was left scratching my head about the “quality” King was referring to. I’m no E. Alex Jung, I studied film only as a college student, and I haven’t watched every nominated film but I can confidently say that not all of the films the Academy deems worthy are “quality” — films with innovative writing, thoughtful acting and directing, and boundary-pushing cinematography. 

Furthermore, when I asked folks in and around the industry what they think the Academy looks for, quality rarely came up — rather, the movies that won nominations were often chosen due to a predetermined mix of what was available to watch, marketing budgets, and just the spirit of the time.

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