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September 21, 2023

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Awards do not matter, films should be appreciated on their own merits

When Steven Spielberg presented the nominations for best picture in 2010, he said something that still resonates with me to this day:

“In a moment, one of these 10 movies will join a list that includes ‘On the Waterfront,’ ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Deer Hunter,’” Spielberg began. “The other nine will join a list that includes ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ ‘Citizen Kane,’ ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Raging Bull.’”

Cue applause.

“Either way, congratulations; you’re all in very good company,” he said before presenting the nominations.

As the 2014 Academy Awards approach this Sunday, Oscar-fans will be reading and making their own predictions. Some will exult when their favorite movie takes home the coveted “best picture” award, and others will become incensed when theirs is snubbed.

But I encourage viewers to keep Spielberg’s observation in mind.

Much of the pre-Oscar buzz is about what will win, what should win and what got snubbed, but when it comes right down to it, who cares?

Rather than focusing on all of the campaigning and trivial reasons this or that Academy member votes for one movie over another, let’s just focus on the movies themselves.

An innumerable amount of movies are made each year, yet only nine are worthy to be considered the very best.

And sure, you can chalk nominations up to politicking, but the main reason “Gravity,” “Wolf of Wall Street” and the other seven are nominated is because they’re good— better than good, even.

Watch the films and appreciate them for their artistic merit. Don’t get caught up in the pettiness of placing too much weight on which movies get which awards.

Further, the movies that win aren’t always the ones that deserve it. In fact, I often find myself at odds with the Academy’s choices [King’s Speech over Social Network? No way.]

For instance, in a year [2012] when “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi” and “Zero Dark Thirty” were nominated, did “Argo” really deserve to win best picture? The better question is, do you even remember “Argo?”

Another prominent example of why not to put your faith in the Academy’s discretion: Martin Scorsese, the director of such monumental films as “Taxi Driver,” “Goodfellas” and the aforementioned “Raging Bull,” didn’t win his own Oscar until 2006 for “The Departed” after making films for 40 years.

An Oscar does less to ensure a film’s immortality and more to ensure elevated DVD sales when the production company can advertise the release as an “Oscar-winning film” on the DVD jacket.

In the end, a movie will stand the test of time not because of the awards it garners, but because of its own merits.

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