Hello, Bloggers, for today's Topic Of The Day, I figured I'd discuss something that has crossed my mind regarding the Oscars. It seems almost every year, there are always complaints about a certain category or the entire field, claiming "It was a weak year for film" or "A weak year for actresses" and so on and so forth. But I would like to try and dispute those claims by giving my own reasons as to why people make those claims about a certain category supposedly being weak each year.
Here is my first reason: Sometimes, whenever people say a category is weak, it can be because it was a weak year for the kind of roles or films that they like to recognize. For example, take this year's Best Picture lineup. While the winner was satisfactory, half the category was filled with more run-of-the-mill choices that didn't seem to get audiences excited (Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Selma, etc.) which didn't give more out of the box choices like Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, or even The Lego Movie a shot. You also have the BP lineup in 2011, which I admit is the safest route they have gone in quite a while with films like The Help, War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Tree of Life in the mix rather than Drive, Shame, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Harry Potter, Bridesmaids, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dragon Tattoo, We Need To Talk About Kevin, or Melancholia. So it wasn't that 2011 was a bad year for movies, it is just that the actual best movies, in my opinion, got thrown into a lion's den.
Another reason that people make claims as to why a category is weak is because of what I, along with other people, like to call "the coattail effect". The coattail effect is when a performance gets in out of recognition for the actor or director who is riding his or her own coattails regardless of the performance or film itself (i.e., Robert Duvall for The Judge). Also, it is when a film gets highly beloved and some of its actors that aren't receiving much buzz come along for the ride (i.e., Alan Arkin for Argo, Queen Latifah/John C. Reilly for Chicago, Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook, Jonah Hill for Moneyball, etc.) Sadly, those that fall victim to the coattail effect have zero chances at winning and that prevents a potential dark horse candidate (i.e., This year, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern over Rene Russo, Katherine Waterston, Tilda Swinton, Carrie Coon/Kim Dickens, Naomi Watts, etc.) from entering the final five. It's ultimately a lose-lose situation for everyone.
So overall, I feel that the main reasons people label a certain category or year for movies are labeled as supposedly "weak" is because of the coattail effect/favoritism and what kind of year it was for typical Oscar films. Whether you agree or disagree with my opinion, please feel free to write your own thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!