This excerpt of a review from Pajiba pretty much sums up my feelings. This town is has such a circle-jerk of self-praise. It's excessive and irritating. I love the pretty dresses and the handsome men as much as the rest of the world. But, there is no need for an Awards SEASON. Awards for TV (daytime and nighttime), film, and stage should cover it.
But perhaps it's just my cynicism kicking in. I'm getting jaded living out here.
The Academy needs that satisfaction because the Oscars are, though it’s somewhat redundant to point it out, a celebration of movies picked by moviemakers. In fact, every awards show is just that, a group of people who get together to vote to honor the best in their field. But the Oscars have somehow tricked people into thinking that the Awards are handed down from on high by God or the universe or the ghost of John Ford, when really it’s just a bunch of people who made some movies that have been turned into understandable commercial packages for which votes have been cast in a weird ceremony that uncomfortably blurs the lines between art and competition. The Oscars are a party in honor of the Oscars.
Pajiba also summed up my feelings over the snub of Brad Renfroe in the Montage of Dead Folk. Not cool, Academy. Not cool.
Perhaps the truest and saddest example of this was this year’s In Memoriam tribute, an annual clip show of actors, writers, filmmakers, and other crewmembers who have died in the past year. The cutoff to be in the reel is January 31, and Heath Ledger’s passing on January 22 guaranteed him a spot in line, though I assume they’d have included him anyway. As the faces of the dead flashed by, the audience applause ebbed and flowed depending on the popularity of the person at the date of their death and their relative star power in general. Ledger, as could have been predicted, was the last to appear, filling the screen in a slowed-down shot from Brokeback Mountain, leaning against a wall in the brown jacket that will forever be married to his memory. It was a weirdly artificial moment, as the Academy put its glorious sadness on display for all to see, and it was only with the passing of time that I and others began to realize that Brad Renfro, who died on January 15, hadn’t been in the package. Was his death too gruesome? Unlikely; Hollywood has never shied away from mourning the passing of its own, no matter the cause. Was his career too old? Again, unlikely; many of the older people featured in the tribute had stopped working long before their deaths, plus Renfro had a role in the upcoming The Informers. For some reason, Renfro was simply overlooked, and though the Academy will probably chalk it up to an oversight and deny whatever intern collated the dead list whatever USC film credit they were earning, it’s hard not to see Renfro’s exclusion as weirdly indicative of the Academy’s whole hang-up with perception. Ledger is just as dead as Renfro, but he’s the kind of dead the Academy wants to hold up to the light. Renfro was a junkie and troubled and dangerous, but Ledger — he’s just classy.