On Thursday morning, after the Oscar nominations were announced, I was roiling from the pain of knowing we live in an unjust world in which the wrong movies get put into the annals of history, and the contributions of worthy screenwriters like James Gunn and Nicole Perlman are to be forgotten. Furthermore, I felt the omission that so angered me was indicative of broader forces affecting society at large. So I did the only thing that I could: I wrote an article called “Why Guardians of the Galaxy's Snub for the Adapted Screenplay Oscar Matters.”
Unfortunately, upon waking up this morning, I met with another injustice: My article, much like the impeccably structured and -dialogued antics of the ensemble cast led by Chris Pratt, had been ignored. It was read just 837 times, with only two Facebook likes, four Twitter shares and one comment saying, “Thank you for informative readings, visit monkeyshoes.com.”
Again I am taking to the Internet to defend a view that I believe deep down in my bones: My article about why this Oscar snub matters matters. Here are the reasons why:
-I framed the piece around the issue of why we don't often reward comedy, why those “serious” movies about war and history and England seem to get all the attention come award season. I'm not saying that I was the first person to make this observation, but I won't deny there's a possibility, and I don't think I've seen any other articles about it, or at least haven't seen them on the fraction of my Twitter feed that I am able to read each day.
-To prove the failures of the Oscar nomination process, I wove in statistics showing that Oscar voters are overwhelming old and white, with shoutouts to the lack of diversity among the acting nominees and the snub for Ava DuVernay, making points along the way about Hollywood's history of gender imbalance and bias against minorities. I even mentioned the snub for The Lego Movie by including a photo that co-director Phil Lord posted to Twitter of an Oscar made of Legos, an inclusion that I feel added a bit of humor and web-friendliness and showed that I could distill various disparate aspects of the conversation among the Oscarati.
-I acknowledged that because it was an underdog, I did not vote for Guardians of the Galaxy in my Oscar pool — that would have been conflicting my own aesthetic tastes with my disinterested analysis of what would win. I know what I like, but even more valuable in the current era of entertainment journalism, I know what people like. It's an important distinction. If you don't understand it, write me an email and I will explain it to you.
-Despite not having seen American Sniper, a film that beat Guardians in this category, I gracefully introduced the controversy over the inaccuracies in the film's portrayal of Chris Kyle after browsing some reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, without revealing any overt liberal bias.
-My one misstep was falling into the trap of repeating the cliche about how the Hollywood studios no longer create prestige, Oscar-nominated films, and instead cede that territory to their arthouse arms and the indie distributors. But in my defense I did not dwell on this section, and the particular way in which I articulated the issue gave it a new spin that could lead to readers to see it anew.
-I wrote about how a nomination for Guardians of the Galaxy might have brought more young viewers to the Oscars, though I acknowledged, rightly, that the voters are not making this consideration while voting. I also successfully overcame the impulse to use the term “Super Bowl for women.”
-After a piece that I believe could change the conversation about the Oscars and influence the field of awards prognostication in the years to come, I ended on a lighter note, leading up to the final phrase “We are Groot,” a bit of dialogue from Guardians of the Galaxy that could also double as a rallying cry. It was an in-joke for fans of the film, helping us to commiserate about our misfortune, and I figured it might urge those who haven't seen it to maybe check out the towering achievement that they failed to experience. Plus, when it comes to trying to matter on the Internet, sometimes we just feel like we're shouting into the forest with no one to hear, like sentient trees. We are all Groot.
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