Z vs THE OSCARS!!!

HEY.

Hmm?

YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?

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I’m taking a mental health break.

WRITING FAKE OSCAR WINNER CARDS?

Just blowing off some steam in between work stuff. You read about this whole thing with the Oscars?

I’M GONNA ASSUME THAT QUESTION WAS RHETORICAL.

Right, ’cause you’re like my subconscious or my rational side or whatever.

“OR WHATEVER”.

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WHAT EDITING SOFTWARE ARE YOU USING TO MAKE THESE CARDS? MICROSOFT OFFICE?

I never claimed to be a professional artist.

DON’T YOU HAVE A VISUAL ARTS DEGREE?

Meh.

PUTTING THAT SOBERING THOUGHT ASIDE, YOU DON’T EVEN REALLY WATCH THE OSCARS. SINCE WHEN DO YOU CARE ABOUT AWARD SHOWS?

Who says I do?

YOU HAVE EIGHT TABS OPEN ON YOUR BROWSER CONTAINING THE WORDS “OSCARS” AND “AWARDS”.

Just curious I suppose.

LIKE THE REGULAR “JUST CURIOUS”, OR THE “JUST CURIOUS” WHERE WE START A NEW ANIME AND END UP BINGE-WATCHING AN ENTIRE SEASON IN ONE NIGHT?

I don’t think it was necessary for you to bring that up.

SLEEP IS NECESSARY.

You’re just saying that because of the sleep deprivation. Still, you’re right about one thing: I don’t really know a anything about how the Academy Awards work. Maybe I could benefit from a little more in-depth examination.

AND MAYBE YOU COULD GO TO BED BEFORE 3 AM.

Let’s put a pin in that one for the time being.

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CAN WE AT LEAST RETIRE THE GAG CARDS?

That I can do. All that Comic Sans was starting to bug me anyway.

MUCH OBLIGED.

Just a heads up for hypothetical readers: the following section contains copious amounts of history. You’ve been warned.


SO WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE OSCARS?

Not much; I barely even watch the Oscars anymore. Every year it’s the same dance: I start watching, the host does his monologue, there’s a few interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits, and then my interest starts waning after the first hour and grows exponentially smaller by the minute. Then I just google the winners the next day or whenever.

WELL HERE’S A FUN FACT FOR YA: THE FIRST EVER ACADEMY AWARDS CEREMONY BACK IN 1929 WAS ONLY FIFTEEN MINUTES LONG.

Come on.

CHECK IT. 270 GUESTS, 12 AWARDS, AND OVER IN 15 MINUTES. NO MUSS, NO FUSS.

first_oscars

How the heck did they pull that off?

WELL, FOR ONE THING THEY HAD ALREADY ANNOUNCED THE WINNERS THREE MONTHS BEFORE, AND FOR ANOTHER THE FIRST ACADEMY AWARDS WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT WASN’T BROADCAST ON RADIO OR TELEVISION.

It truly was a simpler time back then.

SO, NO LOVE FOR THE OSCARS AT ALL?

Not entirely. I will confess to a mild interest in the “Best Animated Feature” category.

YOU KNOW SOMETHING INTERESTING? THAT CATEGORY WASN’T EVEN A THING UNTIL 2002.

That can’t be right.

FOR REAL. THE FIRST EVER RECIPIENT OF THE AWARD WAS DREAMWORKS SHREK.

That is genuinely surprising. Not to slight the charming adventure that is Shrek, but really, that’s the inaugural winner?

IF YOU WANT TO BE TECHNICAL, YES. THEN AGAIN, THE ACADEMY HAD GIVEN OUT A SPECIAL “HONORARY” OSCAR WAY BACK IN 1939 TO WALT DISNEY FOR SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES. NEVER COMPETED FOR BEST PICTURE, THOUGH.

That’s kind of a shame.

YEAH, ANIMATED FEATURES WEREN’T EVEN IN THE RUNNING UNTIL 1991 WHEN BEAUTY AND THE BEAST WAS NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE.

Great movie.

ANY THOUGHTS ON SOME OF THE MORE RECENT ANIMATED FEATURE NOMINEES?

You mean 2017’s crop? Yeah, I’ve got some thoughts. First and foremost how in the holy heck do Ferdinand and The Boss Baby get Oscar nominations while movies like your name. don’t? Who are the people selecting these movies?

THAT’S WAY MORE HOMEWORK THAN YOU’D WANT TO DO. SHORT VERSION IS THAT IT’S AN ANONYMOUS GROUP OF SIX THOUSAND PEOPLE, ALL OF THEM WORKING IN “THE FILM BUSINESS” IN SOME FORM OR ANOTHER: WRITERS, DIRECTORS, EDITORS, ACTORS, ETC.

That’s about 5,999 more people than I’d care to deal with.


oscars

YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT NEW CATEGORY THEN? THE ONE THAT’S STIRRING UP SO MUCH CONTROVERSY?

I was actually kind of enjoying the history lesson, but sure. We thinking of the same thing?

THE ACADEMY’S NEWEST ADDITION TO THE LINE-UP OF FILM CATEGORIES AND THEIR LATEST ATTEMPT TO BOOST THEIR FLEDGLING RATINGS: “OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN POPULAR FILM”.

Yeah, that was it. Quick question: have they specified how exactly one qualifies to be a “popular film”?

NOT AS OF THIS POST.

They should probably get on that sooner rather than later.

YOU’RE UPSET.

I’m honestly more amused by it than anything. It’s really all speculation at this point, and anyway the Academy might still change their minds and pull out at the last minute after all the backlash. Based on the chatter online it doesn’t seem like anyone is really thrilled about this, so I don’t imagine I need to go into too much detail here.

HAS NOT HAVING ALL THE FACTS EVER STOPPED YOU BEFORE?

It probably should have, but no. Again, bearing in mind that this is all still speculation, this new category seems a little…pandering, for lack of a better word. It’s like the award is designed to recognize that a lot of people liked a movie rather than recognizing it has any actual artistic merit. Of course I’m used to the fancy awards shows skewing away from the stuff I enjoy.

THIS IS GOING TO INVOLVE SUPERHERO MOVIES IN SOME WAY, ISN’T IT?

Oh yes.

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NO MATTER WHERE WE SEEM TO START, IT ALWAYS COMES BACK TO SUPERHEROES.

I think I’ve been pretty upfront about that.

THERE ARE OTHER FILMS BESIDES SUPERHERO MOVIES THOUGH. YOU THINK THEY MADE A WHOLE NEW CATEGORY JUST FOR THEM? THAT’S A TAD PRESUMPTUOUS.

Is it though? They’re freaking everywhere. Look at the billions of dollars that Disney is raking in from the Marvel flicks and tell me there isn’t a massive audience for these stories. I’m reasonably certain Avengers: Infinity War has already made like 2 billion dollars at this point, not counting the profits from merchandise and the like.

JUST ABOUT. BOX OFFICE MOJO CURRENTLY LISTS THE TOTAL GROSS AT $2,045,300,510.

That is a stupid amount of money right there.

SURPRISINGLY ENOUGH IF YOU LOOK AT THE MARVEL MOVIES RELEASED FOR 2018, WHILE INFINITY WAR HAS THE HIGHEST TOTAL GROSS, IT WAS BLACK PANTHER THAT HAS MADE MORE MONEY DOMESTICALLY.

That would be more surprising if Black Panther hadn’t already obliterated my expectations this year. Though I can and have nitpicked superhero movies to death, the fact is that Black Panther was pretty solid. The actors were all good, the costume designs and the city of Wakanda all looked amazing, and the plot overall was pretty compelling.

THE WAY I HEAR IT THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT BLACK PANTHER GETTING SOME OSCAR NOMINATIONS IN THE FUTURE.

Oh, I take all that talk with a boulder of salt. Don’t get me wrong, I love these silly comic book movies, but it would have to be a pretty slow year and a particularly high critical success before any kind of superhero movie got nominated for Best Picture. Even before we starting talking about this new award it has always been a struggle for pop culture movies to get recognition from the Academy. I’m not ruling out awards for stuff like cinematography, costume design, or editing, but it takes a real monumental push for one of these guys to crack the more high-profile awards like Best Picture.

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE ONLINE WHO SEEM TO THINK THE ACADEMY CREATED THE “POPULAR FILM” CATEGORY JUST SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO PUT MOVIES LIKE PANTHER WITH THE PROPER AWARDS.

Keep the art-house films and critical darlings in Best Picture, leaving the more mainstream “popcorn flicks” over in their this own category? I can see where they’re coming from. If I may cite an article, David Crow wrote a pretty succinct analysis over at Den of Geek where he called it more of a “kid’s table” situation. It does seem a tad belittling, like a movie that resonates with larger audiences can’t also qualify as Best Picture, but I can’t pretend to understand the motivations of the Academy.

SO IN A WAY IT’S KIND OF LIKE WHAT THEY DID WHEN THEY ADDED IN BEST ANIMATED FEATURE.

Well, see, that’s a kind of a unique case, at least in my opinion. Certainly on the surface creating another branch for animated movies could come off as a little pandering, but on the other hand, you could make a more solid argument that animation is it’s own separate field. I mean, there are so many different techniques you can employ to achieve an animated movie these days: traditional animation, stop-motion, computer-generated images, etc. We’ve been fortunate enough to have many animated features in the past that also tell great stories, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the be-all end-all when it comes to animation.

LIKE WITH THE BOSS BABY.

Ugh, yes.

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IT’S JUST A KIDS MOVIE, DUDE. IT CAN’T HURT YOU.

I get it, I’ll simmer down.

YOU HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THE POPULAR MOVIES HAVE GENERALLY IMPROVED, THOUGH. SHOULDN’T THEY HAVE A SHOT AT BEST PICTURE?

Oh sure, no doubt, as long as they’re good. I think we’re lucky to have writers and directors behind the scenes who genuinely seem to care about the source material, whether it’s superheroes or musicals or whatever. Sure the journey to improving has been kind of a shambling mess, but in general I think we’re getting some of the best movies of our generation. We’re doing things with film now that were unheard of twenty or even thirty years ago, not just in terms of special effects but in terms of writing and directing, but acting, editing, music, and design work as well. I think it’s a good sign, albeit a crooked one, that the Academy is starting to take notice.

I’M CONFUSED NOW: ARE YOU NOW SAYING A “POPULAR FILM” CATEGORY IS ULTIMATELY A GOOD THING?

I guess I’d say it’s not…entirely terrible? It’s definitely pandering for sure, but it shows that the Academy has at least recognized the tides are changing. They may be going about it all wrong, but I think ultimately it will work as a learning experience for the Academy, especially with all the feedback they’re receiving just from announcing a new category. I think that if the Oscars want to accurately reflect achievements in film, they have to step back and look at the bigger picture.

SOUNDS LIKE AN AWFULLY NON-COMMITTAL ANSWER.

Yeah, this all turned out way less venomous than I’d originally planned.

SO…ANY THOUGHTS ON POTENTIAL NOMINEES FOR 2019?

None in particular.

LET’S TRY AN EASY ONE: YOU THINK BLACK PANTHER HAS A CHANCE TO WIN FOR BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS?

dodgy

No comment.

WUSS.

I’m tired, dude.

I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE STILL AFRAID OF TAKING POT SHOTS AT DISNEY AFTER THE LAST TIME.

Could we maybe forget I did that? The Oscars are one thing but I actually like Disney.

IT’S 2018, DUDE. NOBODY FORGETS ANYTHING ANYMORE. AS IT STANDS YOU’RE BASICALLY A LEPER ALREADY.

Wonderful.

IF YOU THINK THAT’S GOOD YOU’LL GET A REAL KICK OUTTA MY NEXT FUN FACT.

Go on then.

DID YOU KNOW THE ACADEMY AWARDS HAVE BEEN BROADCAST LIVE ON THE ABC NETWORK FOR THE LAST 43 YEARS? IN FACT, BACK IN 2011 THE ACADEMY OFFICIALLY EXTENDED THEIR PARTNERSHIP WITH ABC THROUGH TO 2020.

That’s…interesting.

AND YOU KNOW WHO CURRENTLY OWNS ABC.

Walt Disney Studios.

WHOOPS.

…think they’ll care?

I WOULDN’T GET MY HOPES UP.

Well, just in case a Disney sniper takes me out before the next article:

Later, Squares!

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Z Squared

Aspiring Human Being & Professional Procrastinator

One thought on “Z vs THE OSCARS!!!

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