How do we make the Oscars better?

How about a 10 year Oscar re-vote?  So opines author Lowen Liu at Slate Magazine:

Of course, such an idea would never happen as its waaaay too embarrassing, controversial, and just plain nasty an idea.


Ms. Liu points out something that is perplexing about the public’s views on art in general and something I’ve noticed on more than one occasion:  What might be popular -even wildly popular- today may be passe or worse tomorrow.

Actors Paul Newman and Al Pacino were famously nominated (and sometimes not nominated) for works they should have, in hindsight, won awards for.  In the end, Mr. Newman was nominated some nine times for an Academy Award but finally received one for his work in The Color of Money, the Martin Scorsese directed sequel to The Hustler.  While The Hustler was (and is!) considered by many, including myself, a cinematic classic, there are few who hold as high an opinion of the belated sequel.  In fact, to my mind the sequel is an incredibly mediocre film, perhaps one of Mr. Scorsese’s rare misfires.  Mr. Newman wasn’t terrible in it, but neither was he as scintillating as he was in so many other, better films.  The Award, it felt, was given in lieu of awards he should have received in the past.

As for Al Pacino, he was also nominated multiple times for his acting in very, very strong films.  Ultimately, he was given an Academy Award for his role in Scent of a Woman.  This award, too, felt like a gift for past transgressions.  While the film was a success upon its release, I suspect there are few today who would consider this film anywhere near the level of many of Mr. Pacino’s “great” films, films that he deserved to win an award far more than this one.

In the end, however, Oscars have to be viewed as what they are:  A snapshot of the times.  Sure, there are going to be films and actors who should have won but didn’t, yet ultimately great work, for the most part, is recognized over the course of time.  And works that were perhaps not as good as one thought, well, they slowly are forgotten.

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