Film: In Praise Of Oscar
By Henry P. Raleigh
ART TIMES Janurary 2014 online
It’s a popular annual sport among the film crowd. I mean the bashing of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its Best Picture Oscar selection. The next three selections, director, actor, actress, cause considerably less fuss I suppose because general film audiences don’t keep close track of such personalities. Best Picture is what Oscars is all about and if you don’t like his pick, well sir, that’s Hollywood corruption plot for you. Now I don’t get worked up about this, yet I am usually disappointed in each year in which in what is clear enough to me that the wrong film has gotten the prize. So figuring the history of the Best Picture Oscar must be a shameful read I looked it up. And here’s the surprise — even considering that time and age might change your perceptions, Oscar hasn’t done badly over his eighty-five years of picks. Start in 1927 with “Wings” and scan through the following decades: “It Happened One Night”, “Gone with the Wind”, “Best Years of our Lives”, “On the Waterfront”, “West Side Story”, “The Godfather”, “Annie Hall”, “Schindler’s List” — that’s just a sampling. Sure there may be some in betweens that aren’t your favorites but you wouldn’t deny these too are pretty good films.
Fair’s fair and even though I don’t like how this year’s choices are shaping up I have to give Oscar his due.