28th February 2005

Are the Oscars Losing Their Importance?

posted in `Roids |

by Lloyd Kaufman with Andy Deemer

According to Anita Gates of the New York Times [1], viewership for the annual Oscars show has been dropping faster than my pants after a hot Malay stew. Well I have three words for you, boys and gynos: big fucking surprise. That’s right… big fucking surprise that audiences aren’t tuning in to watch Hollywood’s fat bigwigs, and balding corporate whores, and collagen-injected starlets parade down the blood-red carpet at this back-slapping fiesta. The one thing that does surprise me is how long they’ve been keeping this racket alive.

As recently as the 1970s, the Oscars were accessible to independent filmmakers. In 1971, a little film called Joe was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The film wasn’t made in Hollywood: it was shot on the streets of New York for a paltry $150,000. It stared a cast of then-unknowns, was written and directed by a team of then-unknowns [2] and was distributed by an then-unknown film company called Cannon Films. Could that happen today? What do you think?

To even be considered for an Academy Award nowadays, you need an advertising budget bigger than the GNP of Chad or Burma. Hell – more than that of most third world countries! The only way you can even get nominated for an Academy Award is by having enough green to buy full-fucking-page ads in every bullshit industry rag, with the words “for your consideration” taped on. And then hosting celebrity-filled all-expenses-paid parties in Laguna Beach. And then, of course, by stuffing your film full of big-shit Hollywood stars [3].[4] It doesn’t hurt to have the name “Weinstein” attached, either.

So look at the goddamn nominees this year. A load of predigested baby food! Fresh-faced little Leo stroking his jet, old man McClint with another tear-jerking piece of anal play. The one film that had me hoping for something special was a movie about a suspected pedophile… some notorious Victorian writer. But they left out the fact that he was a suspected pedophile!!! God [5] fucking damn… NAMBLA is up in arms. But then… then there’s the film that really gets my goat: this Sideways piece of shit. “Boy, oh, boy. Isn’t this just a coup for true independent cinema,” the media cries. But I cry fowl![6] This is no indie film! It has a cast of mainstream actors! And the director? He’s been directing Matthew Broderick and Jack Nicholson for years! To cap it off, the distributor is Rupert fucking Murcock’s Fox! And do you know how much money Murdoch ploughed into making sure this “indie” film was nominated??? I’ll tell you – more than ten times the amount it cost to make Citizen Toxie!!![7]

Well, with the public, that shit will not stand. That’s why the viewership is down year after year – the public is sick of watching a fixed contest between the rich and the richer. Between the same five or six companies, each with a gazillion dollars in their pockets to throw at promoting the fuck out of their wares. Independent film companies don’t have the cash to take out full page ads. Or to throw mammoth parties on a fucking yacht. Hell, the most we at Troma can offer is my apartment, a six-pack of Beast, and Paris Hilton’s phone book [8]. And you’ll all have to share.

Maybe if the Academy had a broader focus… maybe if they were just a little more interested in truly finding the best picture, the best screenplay, the best performances, we’d choose nominees like:

Jonathan Caouette’s gorgeous Tarnation, a moving feature-length documentary made on home video for $200, Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg’s gutsy Shaun of the Dead, the even gutsier Fahrenheit 9/11, Neil Young’s ode to simplicity Greendale, Mario Van Peebles’ slam against the Hollywood establishment BAADASSSSS!, Guy Maddin’s fucked-up The Saddest Music in the World, cool shark movie Open Water, and those amazing documentaries What the Bleep Do We Know, The Corporation, MC5: A True Testimonial, and DiG! These were films that challenged their audiences, and presented us with something new, something worthwhile. Maybe you’ve got other suggestions? Let us know here!

So when an awards show resorts to hiring a controversial (yet not even funny) huckster as its host, planting rumors about internal academy dissent, and trying every trick they got to get you to tune in, you know that all there is lost. The most rigged event in American media [9] is over [10]. So instead, we invite you to come back to Troma. The time for independent cinema to resurface is NOW!

[1]: Feb 24, 2005.

[2]: And introduced an unknown production manager named Lloyd Kafuman. Hey, waitasec, that’s me!

[3]: Stars like Robert De Niro of The Wedding Party, or Kevin Costner of Sizzle Beach USA, or Samuel L Jackson of Def By Temptation, all available on Troma Team Video from the Troma Studio Store.

[4]: And display it in a commercial Los Angeles theater for a week. Goddamn it!

[5]: Feel free to substitute “Allah”, “Krishna”, or “Hale-Bopp” if deemed appropriate.

[6]: For more crying fowl, check out advance word on Troma’s upcoming rooster, Poultrygeist: Attack of the Chicken Zombies! at Poultrygeist Movie.com.

[7]: Okay, I’m just guessing at this. But given that Citizen Toxie cost Troma a whopping $147.33 and a back-alley blowjob, it’s most likely more than true.

[8]: But I’ve already drunk dialed most of the numbers in it.

[9]: Sorry – I’m wrong. The most rigged event in American media happens every four years, and the last few times has involved my least favorite coke-snorting college classmate. So perhaps the Oscars are the second most rigged event.

[10]: The fact that Million Dollar Bebe, Faye Ray, and The Gayviator swept the awards only proves this further.

There are currently 2 responses to “Are the Oscars Losing Their Importance?”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On March 3rd, 2007, John Birmingham said:

    Lloyd, I both agree with you and disagree with you. I am split, not knowing whether to kiss their ass while smiling my way through it or to spit in their faces and scream curses at them… hahaha, the latter sounds fun… Yes, maybe the Oscars are rigged… but isn’t that what life is all about? Winning on a sports team, making the “A” in school? Its a bit like survival of the fittest, isn’t it? Its sad but true. The people who rebel against the mainstream are so called “punks” or “gothic” people or the like, but then punk or gothic becomes the mainstream trend in recent years. Some might say that you are already in that club Hollywood. It all depends on how you look at it. Either way, you have essentially become timeless through your work, and from the Poultrygeist preview, it appears as though your films are becoming a means of getting deeper underlying human message across. If you keep it up, they’ll give you an Oscar one way or another…

  2. 2 On June 17th, 2007, Nick Zbu said:

    The question isn’t ‘are the Oscars losing their importance,’ but ‘should they?’ And the answer is yes.

    Film today has become too much of a commercial commodity and it’s killing the medium. The ceremony of a bunch of millionaires who like to play pretend as a career is an insult to everything film should be. Awards shows in general are scams filled not with honoring really good films, but with making sure that the good films that have been chosen for us now have another reason for marketing.

    If the Oscars want to become important again, the answer is simple: don’t hold the Oscars every year. Don’t give out awards unless the movie really deserves it. If that means that five years goes by without someone getting a gold statuette, then tough. What we need now is more heartfelt moviemaking, not more investments for rich people. Otherwise, the situation we face now is only going to get worse.

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