PA WIRE / TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
“I have an idea. How about, instead of having an award category for best movie in the eyes of white males who are paid to decide what movies to snub, we have a category that is entirely decided by the audience?” PA WIRE / TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

The Oscars have come a long way since its humble beginnings. From celebrating the best movies of the year to celebrating the best actors and actresses out in the world, the Oscars have always been a staple of American television around this time of year. Who won? Who wore the best dress? Who got snubbed?

Well, I can answer that last question: everyone who is not a select group of 1,000 or so people got snubbed. Every single year the awards season becomes more and more worthless as the population grows. Now that people can see a movie whenever they want, those who are apart of a select group of voters should not be the ones to pick which gets labeled as “The Best Movie.”

You have to go back to 1997 to see this clearly. The last time a movie won for “Best Picture” and also took home the real, coveted award of “Top Grossing Film” was James Cameron’s “Titanic.” That is naturally wrong considering that in the 18 years since then, only a few of the top grossing films of that year  have taken home any Oscars whatsoever.

The film industry needs revenue to survive, so why are the movies that attract the most attention or gain the most notoriety not favored to win every year? Clearly, the films that have done well and gained the most money were the most popular, so just give them a pity award at least.

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You may be reading this and thinking, “Oh, well it doesn’t really matter, they make the money but the real acting comes in smaller films.” That is not the point. The awards season has become such a joke in many respects due to their complete lack of recognition to movies that were a success.

The reason this matters is simple. The Oscars, for whatever reason, are still the awards people look up to. They are still the awards that 50 years from now, people will go, “Oh, in 2014, the award for best movie went to Birdman, so that clearly must be the best film of all of 2014.” That is the important thing here. It is not up to the audience whatsoever to decide who gets awards anymore. Sure, there is the People’s Choice Awards, but how many people in the world watch that compared to the Oscars? 10.36 million people tuned in to watch the People’s Choice Awards in 2014 while 43 million watched the Oscars in the same year. That staggering difference is the problem.

What I am saying is that we need to change how movies are rated. The awards do not reflect how popular a movie was or if it was the best. In the eyes of the audience, clearly the best movie of 2014 was “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” It earned leagues of money higher than the next movie on the list, “Interstellar.” So why do these movies earn no formal recognition? Because they are not good enough for a select group of people we call “the critics.”

As 2015 rolls around, we need to realize that the system does not work anymore. Clearly the audience always speaks with money, and the money is not talking. Awards should not be given out by a select voting committee that is made up of 77 percent white males; only 2 percent of the votiung members are black.

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This discrepancy in voting and accountability has really ruined the idea of awards and it is time to find a new system. A system that honors the movies that truly made the audiences come back for more. A system that people enjoy to watch because it said “In reality, movies like ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ and ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ were important in 2014 and should be recognized for drawing the most audience appreciation and revenue.”

I have an idea; How about instead of having an award category for best movie in the eyes of white males who are paid to decide what movies to snub, we have a category that is entirely decided by the audience? Just nominate the top-10 grossing movies of that year and then have the audience decide who the true winner of that year is. Sure, there can be a “Critics Choice” category, but we have passed the point where select people should be telling the world what movie was the most important.

Or, if you want to play on a leveled playing field, stop nominating movies 90 percent of the people have no interest in. I am sorry, selection committee, but having your viewership drop 18 percent in one year is indicative of just how disconnected you really are from the American public.

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