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Academy of Irrelevance
by Andy York

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Well, some of you will remember me and some of you won't. I wrote for Matchflick.com from 2007 to 2008. I left and actually spent the now nearly three years that have passed writing about basketball. I'm not going to lie; I love basketball more than just about anything. Still, movies fall somewhere in the category of maybe a hobby. I do have a passion for older movies and making lists of movies though. That's why I've come back to write for this site. It's fun...

Now, I realize that by the time this column goes up on the site the Oscars will be a bit of an outdated topic. I don't care though because they're the very reason that I started thinking about writing here again. When The King's Speech won this year my Facebook kind of blew up with people not liking the movie or wishing Inception or The Social Network had won. I know that this isn't a new phenomenon, as this happens every year, but it did get me to thinking about the award's relevance now.

What I found interesting was that it wasn't so much anger I saw from my friends and people on message boards, but more of a mocking sense of it being a joke. When the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals last year, it delivered a strong response of almost all emotions from the sport's faithful. The Oscars are supposed to be the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl for movies. The problem is... they're not.

The Oscars used to carry some form of cache and could be a real boost to an actor's career upon winning one. That
doesn't really happen anymore. Take Reese Witherspoon. She was great in Walk the Line and I had no problem with her winning. What's she doing now? Making Christmas comedies with Vince Vaughn?

Sure, the Oscars have always had their flaws. From Cimarron to The Greatest Show on Earth to Shakespeare in Love, there have been plenty of unworthy winners. The difference now is that we don't care about the movie that wins. The question used to be "What movie will win Best Picture this year?" but now it's "What movie will they'll find to push?"

I'm all for lesser known movies getting their due and winning awards, but for an award to be relevant its recipient has to have found some sort of near universal acclaim. The King's Speech wasn't a bad movie; in fact it was quite good. The problem is that no one is going to remember it.

You remember Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, Schindler's List etc. because those were movies that mattered. That when you watched them you knew they were something special or at least memorable. Let me ask you this, who really gets nostalgic and pulls out a copy of Chicago? Crash? The Hurt Locker?

Those are decent movies, but will they be remembered 10 years from now? Will the Academy really show any of those in montage clips in the future? The two movies that really mattered this year were Inception and The Social Network. When people look back on the movies that mattered in 2010, it's going to be those two movies
that are mentioned first. Well, you could also make an argument for Toy Story 3, but I won't.

It was the same case in 2008 when the only movie that anyone cared about that year was The Dark Knight. That was the film of that year, maybe even the decade. It just was that movie that you knew would be one of the hallmarks of the 2000's. Does anyone really even want to try to make an argument for Slumdog Millionaire only three years later? There simply was not an easier movie to pick for Best Picture over the last decade. If you want to show someone what was what in movies over the last ten years, The Dark Knight is where you start.

The reason all of this has to be brought up every year is because it's directly what's making the Oscars less and less valuable every year. It's not about trying to find the right host or how long the actual show is. It's about whether or not the organization that is supposed to be the biggest selector of greatness in film actually gets it. If whether or not they're actually picking what's best and great. What I see is that more and more frequently the Oscars not only don't pick the right movies, they completely blow it when the obvious choices are in front of them.

So, when they're wondering why the ratings are down next year and why Kristen Bell or Justin Bieber didn't seem to generate buzz as the host the answer will be simple. The Oscars aren't relevant anymore because the movies that win them aren't relevant either.

Nice to be back...

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Out of the Past
Every other Tuesday

Discussing classic films from City Lights to Apocalypse Now and everything in between and beyond.

Other Columns
Other columns by Andy York:

Top 10 Coolest Movie Characters

Stewart-Mann Western Connection

Ride of Terror Showdown

A Guide to the Fiercely Divine

The Greatest Violence

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Andy York
Andy is a life long movie fanatic. The first movie he saw in the theater was Back to the Future, Part 2 at the age of 3 and he has loved movies ever since.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Andy York by clicking here.

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