(K. Brent Tomer),
THE function of the Academy Awards has always been self-promotion. They were created in 1929 to defend the industry against bad press, with sex scandals and on-screen violence causing a stir among the era’s crusading moralists. Hollywood players created an awards show to improve their image; if there could be a “best” picture, they implicitly argued, some of the films must be “good”.
These days, it is not so simple. What constitutes “best” is a matter of heated debate. This year, is it the nostalgia-driven escape of “La La Land”? Or will the politics of representation win out and elevate “Hidden Figures” or “Moonlight”? Over the past few years, popular culture has become the site of America’s most divisive political discussions, and the Oscars have gone through some growing pains as they try to reflect the changing landscape. What film it chooses to honour on February 26th will tell us how far it has come.
In recent years, the Academy has frequently ignored films with political and social relevance (like “Selma” and “Carol”) in favour of those like “The Artist”, “Argo” or “Birdman” that speak specifically to the film…Continue reading