The Oscar ceremonies became a proverbial event in the history of the American culture quite a while ago (English 73). Defining the cultural choices made by the critics and the viewers alike and serving as the means of summing up the progress that the moviemaking industry has made, the aforementioned events may need certain improvements, though. Despite being based on a rather rigid set of guidelines and aimed at providing the audience with the best experience possible, Oscar ceremonies might be viewed as far too conformist, therefore, leaving no room for independent movies to evolve and, therefore, promoting a series of cinematic staples instead of breaking new grounds.
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Oscar Ceremonies: Bias and Benefits
On the one hand, the contemporary representation of cinematic advances and artistic accomplishments bends the very concept of an Oscar as an award, pandering to the lowest common denominator of the target audience instead of elevating art in general and the art of moviemaking in particular (Kois par. 4). Which is even more frustrating, the specified tendency can be traced in the acknowledgments of independent movies (i.e., the Independent Choice Awards). Instead of celebrating the uniqueness of independent movies, Oscar-like awards foist the same set of concepts onto their target audience, therefore, shaping the realm of cinema and turning it clichéd and predictable: “the People’s Choice Awards to prizes of the “independent” “art” cinema like the Independent Spirit Awards (founded in 1986) – are a good deal closer to the Academy Award model than their populist or anticommercial rhetoric would suggest” (English 86).
Hollywood and Images
It would be wrong to assume that the Oscar ceremony, as well as the very concept of an Oscar as an award, is ridden with biases; quite on the contrary, as a concept, the idea of congratulating actors and moviemakers on their success is rather innocent. However, when the very essence of the award is driven to celebrating mediocrity, the location of new trends is hardly possible (“The Winners” par. 3).
The images constructed with the help of Oscars in Hollywood, therefore, are somewhat bigoted. The choices made during the ceremonies perpetuate the images of heroes and characters that wore out their welcome quite a while ago, yet are still promoted as desirable due to the lack of effort among Hollywood moviemakers and actors. Nevertheless, a certain value can be found in the images created with the help of the award ceremonies and the people taking part in them (King 51). Particularly, the fact that the above-mentioned ceremonies allow for contextualizing the messages that Hollywood movies convey deserves to be mentioned (Osborne 00:17:02).
Therefore, the awards in question and the people contributing to hem create the universe, in which new and improved values can be introduced to the audience; at this point, the importance of a montage as one of the most popular tools used during movie awards for outlining the key moments in the recent movie history deserves to be emphasized: “the magic of apparently watching all of film history in four minutes also works as a sort of narrative black box, wherein ordinary expectations that spectators follow a rational cinematic story or argument are suspended in a bath of spectacle and awe” (Kernan 3). Though Oscar ceremonies may be considered polished to the point where they are deprived of any unique characteristics they do serve as a basis for summing up the progress made in the movie industry. Therefore, several improvements regarding the current standards for movies, in general, and independent movies assessment, in particular, have to be considered.
English, James E. The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2005. Print.
Kernan, Lisa n. d., Hollywood on the Head of a Pin: Montage and Marketing at the Oscars. Web.
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King, Kimball. Hollywood on Stage: Playwrights Evaluate the Culture Industry. New York City, New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Kois, Dan. “The Academy’s Failure to Recognize Boyhood Is Their Worst Mistake in 20 Years.” New York Times. Web.
Osborne, Courtney. “Oscars 2015 Full Show – 87th Academy Awards 2015 Oscars Full Show – Oscars 2015 Red Carpet.” Web.
“The Winners.” New York Times. Web.