12 Years A Slave is one of those “important subject” films that people will call a “difficult watch” while praising it, implying that you should sit through it to better yourself even if you don’t enjoy the experience. Not surprisingly, a few members of the Academy privately admitted to the LA Times that they wanted to reward the eventual Best Picture winner for its importance (and congratulate themselves for doing so), while foregoing the possible trauma of actually watching it. Methinks they may have missed the point. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?
Two Oscar voters privately admitted that they didn’t see “12 Years a Slave,” thinking it would be upsetting. But they said they voted for it anyway because, given the film’s social relevance, they felt obligated to do so.
The film’s distributor anchored its awards campaign around the line “It’s time,” easily interpreted as an attempt to exhort members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences into voting for the movie because it was the right thing to do. [LATimes]
The Academy, of course, is acutely aware of their stunning lack of diversity, so the idea that they’d want to reward the film about slavery with a black creative team makes a lot of sense. Of course, any sense of guilt or obligation didn’t stop them from rewarding the straight-white-savior movie Dallas Buyers Club with two acting awards and a hair and make-up Oscar (interesting to note that the last two make-up Oscars went to a movie about 19th century French poverty and one about dying AIDs patients in the 1980s, respectively. Derelicte is real).
The thing is, without politicizing it, they were both well-made movies that lots of people liked. But now they’re the perfect cable news topic, a story that everyone can generalize about without bothering with pesky things like facts or solutions, just a lot of unprovables. My question is, these two Academy members, they understand the point of a secret ballot, right? My God, can you imagine what a spineless coward you’d have to be to be buffaloed by your own subconscious into altering your vote on a secret ballot? I think it might be time to dissolve this entire organization and start over again.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go melvin myself for typing “methinks.”