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Archive for February 20th, 2011

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo features the slogan “Ars gratia artis” it is a Latin version of the 19th century French slogan ‘l’art pour l’art’ or Art for art’s sake. With this in mind it is interesting that Louis B. Mayer was the person most responsible for the formation of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mayer’s vision was more like a trade union whose primary function would be to mediate labour disputes and promote the movie industry. Within a year of the founding of the academy what we now know as the Oscars were devised.

With all this in mind I can’t help wondering what point of the Oscars is. Would the movie industry be any different without them or other awards? On the whole I would have to say no. As a football fan (that’s soccer to the American readers) I understand the need for competition, without competition sport would be far less compelling or entreating but movies are very different, they are to take things back to the top essentially art. Does art really need to be quantified in this way? True there are many art related awards these days such as The Turner Prize and the music industry has as many awards as the movie industry but they all serve as little purpose as the Oscars.

As a blogger the Oscars are a goldmine of material for debate but there really has to be more point to justify their existence than a chance to bemoan their poor selections. There is always the notion of self publicity, but what I don’t buy that either. By the time the awards come around most nominated films have long since finished their theatrical run. Although it doesn’t harm the winners you don’t exactly see many people building their careers awards success.

So this brings us to the real point of the Oscars and any other awards , they are a way for an industry to slap itself on the back and feel good about itself. My thoughts are probably not unique or original but one thing is certain they Hollywood and the Oscars won’t change. So next Sunday as The King’s Speech is taking the best picture award that should belong to Inception and Natalie Portman beats Jennifer Lawrence I can happily sit back knowing it all really doesn’t matter.

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