Oscars dominated by politics and cliches

The deserving get left out and there are nasty surprises; who says the Oscars are not about politics?

Jza Rizvi January 27, 2011
The Oscar nominations were announced early on the morning of January 26th. The list of nominees almost always includes overrated films, which the Academy proudly hand out in little envelopes, while viewers complain about them.

When The Social Network got the nod for eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, it was an outrage. It’s exactly how I felt the year Slumdog Millionaire walked away with eight Oscars; disbelief, a sense of ‘are they joking?’ and then finally, resignation. After all, it is the Oscars, and we know it is about politics.

This was as close to a golden year as the Academy could get. They have all their favourite cliches: a story of British royalty and disability, there’s a boxing story and the drop-out, following-the-American-dream which we know is equivalent to the lost gold of Eldorado for the Academy.

The Americans love the British

Every year the Oscars have proven that the Americans and British still have a special relationship. The Academy loves British royalty (Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love) probably because they’re both stiff-necked conservative. But I can’t blame them for nominating Colin Firth ( Best Actor in The Kings Speech). Chances are that Firth will walk off with the honours, unless, The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg (who?) an unjust favourite with critics causes an upset.

The femme fatale

Banned in a number of Muslim countries because of its racy content, The Black Swan got five nominations, including the highly coveted Best Actress award.

Strong hopefuls are Natalie Portman (an actress whose movies are impossible to watch if you have kids in the house) and Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right).

Chances are that the Academy will overlook Portman’s performance because her later work might be better, more worthy of an Oscar. Look deep enough and you can tell Portman is not really at the top of her game in The Black Swan.  For Best Supporting Actress, Hellena Bonham Carter stands tall (The King’s Speech); there’s Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, both from the same movie (The Fighter) and as much as I love Amy Adams, the greater possibility is of Leo walking away with the golden statuette, unless the Academy decides The King’s Speech needs to be given all 12 nods, which would truly make it an extraordinary event. We haven’t seen such a sweep since The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King.

Get animated

How to Train Your Dragon got noticed for Animated Feature, along with Pixar’s Toy Story 3 and Disney’s TangledToy Story 3 definitely deserves the award but the sweet dragon movie may make Woody run for cover.

The worlds’ most favorite toys are also nominated for the Best Picture category, but will most probably walk away with the only the Best Animated Feature statuette.

The forgotten ones

Maybe the Academy feels that since it gave credit mostly where it was due, this time it has to make amends.

  1. Christopher Nolangiven was given a no;

  2. Mila Kunis could have her first (and probably last) shot at gold;

  3. Ryan Gosling was left out (for Blue Valentine);

  4. Mark Wahlberg from The Fighter seems to have been ignored when three of his co-stars were nominated?

Anyone who wasn’t considered and feels that he should have been can join the queue which starts from Spielberg and ends with Nolan. They know better than anyone what it feels like to be standing outside, while Cameron walks by, whistling happily, and Meryl Streep polishes her  golden trophies and thinks about the rest of her two dozen nominations. That’s Hollywood for you.

Jza Rizvi A copywriter at an advertising firm in Lahore. She is a graduate in Economics and is interested in sci-fi, fantasy and history
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Husam | 13 years ago | Reply I am so aggravated by these arguments that how the Academy is "political" and "unjust". All these movies (TSN, TKS, Black Swan, 127 hours, Blue Valentine etc.) are one of the best ones out there and numerous websites and bloggers will confirm this. That is why they deserve to be nominated. Talking about the Academy having preferences is a bit absurd surely examples like Notes on a scandal, Finding Neverland, Pride & Prejudice, Mrs Henderson Presents, Match Point, Iris, Bridget Jones's Diary, In the Bedroom, I am Sam and many more will agree that just a British accent or the ability to play a mental handicap doesn't get you an Oscar. Yes, the Nolan and Gosling snub was uncalled for but there are 6000 members in the Academy, some of our favorite picks for categories are bound to fall through. There might have been some lapses in the past by the Oscars, but this year is not the right one to raise the "political" or "biased" argument as all the nominations were deserving. Plus, I wouldn't bank on a blog that claims that Natalie Portman is not going to win an Academy this year and her movies have too much skin exposure or sexual context, surely The Kids are All Right and The Fighter can have a viewing in a kindergarden. Additionally, Portman has never done a nude scene which has gone past the final cut of a movie. That remark on Portman did seem a bit personal.
parvez | 13 years ago | Reply Natalie ! Natalie ! Natalie ! Portman ! Portman ! Portman ! Yeeeah!!
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