• Nolan Schmidt

Politics Ruining Film Appreciation

“So if you win, come up, accept your little awards, thank your agent and your god and **** off!”

This was the famous line given by Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes early last month as the ceremony began. Like everyone else, this now famous line showed the frustration of every individual who has paid attention to many of these highly recognized awards whenever an award recipient gives out a long winded speech based on their mostly left-winged political views.

Now that the Oscars, which in recent years have become more political than ever before, have come and gone, it’s now high time that I give my thoughts on these awards shows, specifically the Oscars. As an independent filmmaker myself, I have appreciated the hard work and efforts of auteur filmmakers before me when it comes to the art of film. I’ve seen both classic and modern films, either they be remarkably good or notoriously bad, and I consider myself a huge cinephile.

However, in recent years, I’ve felt that the view of film appreciation has been strongly corrupted by the political left when it comes to which film deserves an awards or not. I still remember how outraged I’ve felt when The Hurt Locker, a disgustingly inaccurate war film (which has been trashed by many veterans of the Iraq War), won six Academy Awards including Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards. I even felt nauseated that The Hurt Locker’s mediocre screenplay beaten Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds in the Best Original Screenplay category, a film that had cleaver dialogue as well as an intense story-line.

This year’s Best Picture winner, Parasite, won only four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. Personally, as much as I didn’t find the film to be phenomenal like the casual Oscar crowd is claiming it to be just because it won Best Picture, it was a well-done film in its direction and acting. The story itself is not the greatest as it is based more on the topic of class inequality (which may have been the reason why it got Best Picture by the Academy’s vote over both 1917 and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood - the two biggest front-runners of the award by the public). This film’s politically based screenplay (like The Hurt Locker before it) beat Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, which has been considered Tarantino’s love letter to late 1960s Hollywood.

Does anyone else see how politically bias this situation is?

Of course, the situation gets worst when it comes to criticism of the race of the nominees (mostly in the acting categories). I still remember the opening of the 88th Academy Awards where they showed a clips from the films nominated for the awards that year with African-Americans taking place of certain key elements in the scenes just because there were no African-Americans nominated for any of the major categories. I found the Oscars attempt at a joke based on politically and racial based criticism in very low tastes for a highly acclaimed award show.

And to acknowledge the elephant in the room…the acceptance speeches! The big reason why Ricky Gervais gave his speech during the opening of this year’s Golden Globes. So many of these award recipients tend to make these annoying and long-winded speeches based on current political events or issues. Honestly, when it comes to appreciating the art of film, having those types of speeches done where the art of film suppose be acknowledged is like someone pouring a glass of water into a glass of fine wine. It’s not necessary, and it’s especially not needed. It just hurts the appreciation of cinema.

This is why I focus more on smaller independent film festivals for film appreciation (as the larger ones have been corrupted by Hollywood) due to the great talent you could find with films that don’t have Hollywood's corrupting political touches. For the past couple of years, I have been attending Austin Indie Fest, where I have met and befriended many fellow independent filmmakers (both young and old) who have appreciated some of my work and vice versa. Honestly, these smaller independent film festivals are the only way that anyone can appreciate the art of cinema when awards shows like the Oscars have long since abandoned actual art appreciation to only pursue their left-leaning political agenda.