Explaining the upcoming Oscars

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Explaining the upcoming Oscars

Amaka Nwokocha, Contributing Writer

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The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, is an annual ceremony celebrating artistic and technical achievement in film each year. The awards are presented and voted on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But who is on the Academy? And why do they have the power to decide one of the most prestigious art awards in the world? But more importantly, how does it affect us and why should we, as high school students, care at all?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is made up of about 6,000 film artists working in theatrically-released films. To become a member of the Academy, there is no application process. Instead, two or more current members must sponsor someone they believe is fit, and the Board of Governors has the final say in who will receive an invitation. The simpler way to get consideration is to simply become an Oscar nominee. But that is no small feat, as the eligibility requirements and voting process are extensive. After the list of eligible films is made (the full list is on the Oscars website), the voting begins.

There is a long voting process happens both before and after the voting process. In other words, the rest of the motion picture awards season; the height starts with the Golden Globes, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press, and ends with the presentation of the Oscars. Since the Academy Awards are the very last awards that are presented, a very clear assumption that can be made is that the rest of awards season influences the choices that the voters make in several ways. Number One: The first round of nomination voting for the Oscars began the very day after the Golden Globe awards were presented.

One clear indicator of the influence of the Globes on the Oscars is the recipients of the awards themselves. For example, in 2018, the actors who won Best Actor, Actress, and Actor/Actress in a supporting role were the same in both ceremonies, and out of 11 matching categories between the two ceremonies, seven of those, or 64%, had matching winners. This year, the nominees are not as similar, with three matching ones in Leading Actor and Actress and 4 matching in both Supporting Actor categories. Since the Oscars are on February 24th, we have yet to see if the winners match up.

Most people did not watch the Oscars, and one of the reasons that Maya Dieterle ‘21 provided was that “My favorite actors and films aren’t there, and for that reason, the Oscars aren’t important to my life.” The Academy Awards tend to highlight the best films of the year, not necessarily the most popular, and for that reason, most regular people don’t care too much about the Oscars. A lot of the subject matter is avant-garde, incredibly serious, or just not important to teenagers. This year, the Best Picture nominees broke the box a little, with Black Panther being the first ever superhero movie nominated, and with other popular films like A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody in the mix, as well as a Netflix original (Roma). Even though the most popular films in the industry aren’t there, appreciating the art and hard work that goes into these films is incredibly important. Watching a few of them might not hurt either.

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