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Can We Just Be Done with the Oscars?

With Oscar viewership already in steep decline, the Academy has outdone itself by finding a new way to alienate itself from movie lovers.

In a year when producers were praying their movies would just break even, Greta Gerwig spun straw into gold when she turned the story of a plastic toy into the highest grossing movie of the year, but the Oscars are going to treat Barbie like a cute Saturday morning cartoon.

Greta Gerwig blew a lot of minds with her intimate dramas, but it was Little Women that showed us how much she could accomplish with a Hollywood budget in her pocket. That movie was a non-stop perfect ride. The cinematography made every scene look like a live-action Sorolla painting, and the story itself was brought to life in a way that made Alcott's book shine even brighter.

I was thrilled to learn Greta Gerwig had been chosen to direct Barbie. There simply isn't a better choice. And I'm not surprised the Academy is overlooking her directorial efforts.

This doesn't bother me, only because I'm not interested in the Academy's opinions. I've tried to watch two Oscar ceremonies in my entire life, which is a pretty small number for a film buff, and I could barely get through them for the same reasons I don't watch football anymore: too many commercials.

(Yes, I'm a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan who also thinks Barbie is a good movie. I contain multitudes.)

It's not just the endless actual commercials, but the way the entire event is a commercial for celebrities, usually the most overpaid and least talented people who appear in films. Oh, there are a few exceptions. Margot Robbie springs to mind (unless you are in charge of nominating actors for Academy awards), but most of our celebrity actors have less talent than the folks at your community theater.

With Barbie, Gerwig bucked tradition and made the film with practical effects, weaving an immersive story with plastic sets manipulated by stage hands just off screen. The leadership and vision required to make these movies happen is rarely found in anyone, even in Hollywood. Furthermore, she got tremendous performances out of a stellar cast. If you watched enough movies, you learn that even a good actor looks bad when the director doesn't know what they're doing, but Gerwig always gets her cast to bring their A-game.

It's a simple fact that Greta might be the most outstanding director of our time.

Of course, Barbie is also a discussion of feminist issues. I heard rumors it was a femi-nazi propaganda machine, but those rumors were false. Barbie isn't anti-male, anti-family, or anti... anything. It's just a darned good movie.

Instead of asking the Oscars to change, let's continue walking away. Let's stop watching the ceremony, scroll past the articles, and ignore the silly organization that awards movies chosen by (apparently) a drunken orangutan throwing darts. The box office tells us everything we need to know about what a movie has accomplished, and Barbie's light will shine on for a very long time.


  1. Totally get it. I usually ignore the Oscars because I'm a sci-fi person and they tend to get ignored. It really was a *HUGE* snub.

  2. I heard something similar yesterday from a coworker.

    While I hold no real sentimentality toward the Academy Awards (or overblown ceremonies, in general), I do think it's a little hyperbolic to say they're overlooking Barbie. It's nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and two Best Original Songs. As someone who loved Barbie and has seen it multiple times, I was not expecting it to sweep the Oscars.

    Likewise, all three films Greta Gerwig's directed have received multiple Oscar nominations. For Lady Bird, her debut as a solo filmmaker, she was nominated for Best Director.

    As for the title question, I've been done with the Oscars over a decade now. I skip all the noise and read the headlines.

  3. I had heard of this elsewhere and it sounded like a very boneheaded decision to make even for the Oscars, something I've never cared about. Now I have to find a way to care less than 0 about it.


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