Editorial: ‘I Would Not Like to Thank the Academy…’

“Argo” represents everything that is wrong with the Academy Awards.

In fact, it represents everything that is wrong with all of American filmmaking.

Like the presidential race, the road to the Oscars is one less concerned with artistic value than it is with money. Every year, studios launch multi-million dollar campaigns to market and promote the films they decide are Oscar-worthy.

This year, the campaigns were more expensive than ever. According to the Los Angeles Times, which is bombarded by tidal waves of “For Your Consideration” ads every Oscar season, the nine Best Picture nominees ran a total of 189 full page advertisements this year—each advertisement in the L.A. Times is worth approximately $45,000.

Looks like “Argo” might have paid for the most ads.

Thank you, “Argo” for keeping the L.A. Times print edition alive.

The American film industry promotes its big fish, big money films, which the Academy then rewards. Those Hollywood films are often not the best, but in their sizable financial wake the creative little guys are swept under the rug. If the underdogs are lucky, they’ll get a few Oscar nods that serve as mere consolation prizes from the Academy.

Instead of rewarding the dark horse films that earn their nominations based on soul and creativity rather than large budgets and marketing campaigns, like “Beasts of the Southern Wild” or “Amour” (which won the Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Palm d’Or), the Academy has once again rewarded one of the most conventional films of the lot. “Argo” is just another uninspired movie to be congratulated for its historical sentimentalism and safe approach to movie making.

So thanks, Academy, for considering 2012’s most unoriginal nominee its best. It serves as a reminder to us all that the Oscars don’t support art—they support the status quo.