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Film Pet Peeves: The Oscar Goes To…



A few years ago, Sandra Bullock won her first Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in “The Blind Side.” The problem though is that most people say it wasn’t specifically for that performance. Rather, for her entire body of work. 


That Sandra Bullock had never really given a “bad” performance in her entire career. The movies she is in might suck, but she is never the reason it sucks. So, even though “The Blind Side” may not be her best performance, they gave her the Oscar as a way to celebrate her career. 


Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. 


When you think of the Academy Awards, what comes to mind? Other than Hollywood glorifying themselves and making a big deal over their own egos, I mean. 


I believe that the purpose of the Oscars is to celebrate and congratulate the best that cinema had to offer over the past year. To give the people who truly deserve recognition a chance to shine. It is because of this belief that I feel an Academy Award should always go to whoever is the best in their category. 




Now, in that category in which Sandra won her Best Actress, the other nominees included Carey Mulligan from “An Education,” Helen Mirren from “The Last Station,” Gabourey Sidibe from “Precious” and Meryl Streep from “Julie & Julia.” Though I’m glad to see Meryl not win the award again, I do feel that there were more worthy candidates to win that award, particularly Gabourey. 


I don’t think it is fair to give the award to Sandra simply because she had a much bigger body of work than some of the other contenders and they wanted to celebrate that career. Unless it is the Lifetime Achievement Award, an Oscar should stand for one solitary performance, not a career. 


This isn’t something limited to just Sandra either. This has happened multiple times with other actors or actresses, in particular John Wayne for his performance as Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit” or Martin Scorsese for directing “The Departed.” For both Wayne and Scorsese, I would say that neither of those are their best work. 


The awards for both of them was the Academy’s way of saying, “Hey, sorry about all of those times we didn’t give the award and recognition you deserved. We hope this makes up for it.”


Maybe it would be better and more beneficial to hand out honorary Oscars. Something given to actors, directors and filmmakers years after the film came out and has become a huge hit and is seen as one of the quintessential pieces of filmmaking, but something we didn’t see when the film came out. That way, Stanley Kubrick could have gotten Best Director for “2001: A Space Odyssey” instead of Carol Reed for “Oliver!” Kind of like a Hall of Fame for the Academy Awards.



 Something isn’t quite right here. 



This could also mean that truly great actors and actresses can get the praise they deserve, while we still honor and congratulate the best that film had to offer over the last year. Instead of giving Bruce Dern the Best Actor award for this year, simply because he is old and may never get this chance again, give Dern an honorary Oscar celebrating his entire career and then give the Best Actor to the one who did give the best performance. 


After all, the Academy certainly isn’t against changing the way they do their voting. Just a few years ago, they upped the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten. So to make a change like this shouldn’t be too far out of line. 


Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people like Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern and John Wayne don’t deserve to be nominated for their respective awards. What I am saying is that I would like to see the Academy judge a nominee not by their entire body of work, but instead on the single performance they are nominated for. 

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