Saturday, January 12, 2013

So... how exactly do you crash the Academy Awards?

As the Golden Globes are tomorrow evening and the Academy Award nominations were announced on Thursday, I feel this is a fitting time to talk about two things:

1) I have some pretty ambivalent feelings about awards, award shows, and shiny golden statues.

2) I'm going to steal...
No, Nick Cage, I'm really not. But I am going to steal an Academy Award for Leonardo DiCaprio.

But back to #1. Continuing the thoughts that began on this post and because I'm a loser, I have some weird complicated feelings towards award shows, especially the Oscars. I enjoy watching the Academy Awards, for pretty much the same reason I keep buying People magazine - I keep hoping that maybe something unexpectedly wonderful will occur and not only will awesomeness ensue onscreen, I will also feel like less of a freak. Not to say that the Academy Awards are not generally awesome. I mean, for the most part, they are pretty alright. For example, last year was pretty good, except for the part where I spent the entire show looking for two actors in particular (c'mon, you know which ones, don't make me say) and cameras basically avoided them like the plague (unless you were watching Red Carpet stuff on a magical British-loving channel or something. I often wonder where all this gifs on Tumblr come from...). But Christopher Plummer won an Oscar and suddenly everything was bright and beautiful and I remember being pretty okay with things. At least until I watched the Emmys this year and cried tears of rage into a pillow when Kevin Costner won Best Actor in a Mini-Series. (Long story. I don't actually dislike Kevin Costner. I've just never forgiven him for his lack of a British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves).
However, studying culture and film has made it slightly harder to enjoy awards shows without thinking things like, "Why do we award people expensive gold statues for portraying characters that would never receive things like that in their lives?" "Why do some films become worthy of nomination and renown instead of others?" "Who exactly is in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? And how to do I contact them?" and, inevitably, "So... how exactly does one crash this thing?"

It doesn't matter how much I know that the Oscars are imperfect, that they make it more difficult for international films or indie films or just films in general to do well when this is one of the main markers for success we have other than box office earnings, how much they overlook certain films and certain actors/actresses/directors, etc., because I still watch them and I still want to go to the bloody ceremony. I'm not an actress. I'm not a screenwriter. I don't direct. I will never go to this thing. And yet I still really, really want to.

I used to not understand why I wanted to go so desperately. It seemed like it should be the epitome of everything I don't like - not eating and wearing uncomfortable clothes while sitting down and appearing on a red carpet like it's the grand march of prom (not that I went to that - people at my school didn't go to the grand march unless you had a date, it seemed. And I was rocking it with my group of gals from high school so I did not have a date. By the way, high school prom? Kind of overrated). However, the Oscars also epitomizes what I still really want to be - cool. With the fly designer dresses and suits, suave appearances and acceptance speeches, a ceremony of glamor and glitz, it's pretty much assured by everything our society supports that this is the coolest place to be. So, while I am incredibly uncool, enjoy being uncool, and support other modes of uncoolness, I also still like the cool and can't help wanting to be cool. It's a quandary.
Not to mention, celebrities are very, very cool and I long to see my favorites do well, because it's the accepted way of measuring success and, damn it all, can we just have this one thing?

Which brings me to #2: Leo DiCaprio, I am so, so sorry. I really am. For those of you who aren't following my weird strain of thought, Leonardo DiCaprio has once again been overlooked in Academy Award nominations. I am not the only one who thinks this. I am not the only who has noticed this over the course of the years. And I am not the only one who has a problem with it. And yet it keeps happening. The question, of course, is why?
I certainly don't know. But I have a theory. Leo DiCaprio became incredibly popular after starring in James Cameron's Titanic and in Baz Lurhmann's Romeo+Juliet. When I was a kid, he was kind of known for being a "pretty boy" actor, the sort that does romantic chick flicks and had girls wearing "Mrs. DiCaprio" t-shirts in his honor. (Ooh, the 90s....) (God, that makes me feel old.) I got the feeling from the press at the time that people thought he was just going to be kind of a popular actor but not do anything "serious," any "substantial work." And then, in the 2000s, his career shifted and he started doing more action-drama sort of films. I remember reading an article in a newspaper where they talked about the change and how he was taking on "adult" roles and so on and so forth (interesting at how they view different aspects of his career, huh? The serious roles are more praise-worthy than the early romantic leads, apparently). The same article mentioned that it was upsetting that he'd left his romantic leads in the past and could be ostracizing his original fanbase, but considering his original fanbase had aged significantly since the early years, maybe there wasn't much to worry about. Leo is certainly still very popular and a good actor in all parts of his career. And yet...

For several films now, Leo has been grossly overlooked. It probably started before this film but I really noticed it when I saw The Aviator. DiCaprio was brilliant as Howard Hughes and I'm terribly disappointed that DiCaprio did not win the Oscar for this role (though he was nominated). Inception, J. Edgar, Django Unchained... this guy does not make films that don't win other awards. He just hasn't won an Oscar... or even been nominated for some roles, as has been the case for the last two years. The only thing I can figure is this: either he did something really unforgivable and the Academy knows about it but it's all hush-hush otherwise and he will never win or they don't like him. They don't like the fact that his career has changed and expanded and he did what Kristen Stewart could do if media sexism and Twilight get their claws out of her. They don't like that he was always more than a romantic pretty boy and they were blind to an unexpected tour de force. That's all I can figure at least.
Thus my rationale for stealing an Academy Award for him. Because I was positive he was going to get nominated for Django Unchained (I haven't seen it yet, but I've heard it's fantastic. Plus it's Tarantino, he's yet to disappoint). And then he didn't... and now all is lost. Because he MUST win for The Great Gatsby (because it's Gatsby, dammit, and F. Scott Fitzgerald is my bro) but the problem is Gatsby is released in May, and films that are released in the spring are usually overlooked in nominations (notice that some films that have been nominated either just came out or are still in limited release). And if he doesn't win for Gatsby... which I'm pretty sure he won't... guess we're just going to have to take matters into our own hands. I feel like that's a pretty rude step to take (crashing an awards show, stealing someone else's award, generally wreaking havoc) but if you think of it as restoring balance to the universe, then it sounds less bad...

So.... if you've got any helpful pointers for how to A) crash the Oscars, B) steal an Academy Award and give it to Leo without being a rude asshat about it and C) not get arrested or expelled from my university in the process and/or D) want in on such exploits, I'd love to hear it all. Maybe I should hone up on my ninja skills.


  1. Hello! This isn't really a proper comment (I'm in the middle of a "Science, Society and Biomedicine" lecture), but reading this made me want to send you two links:

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you for these! They're both fantastic articles - and I think I could write a blog post each on them :D