2015 was rather forgettable when it came to movies. For most of what I’ve seen, the extent of my feelings can be quickly summarized as, “I guess it was enjoyable,” which is rather depressing given how good 2014 was.
The Hateful Eight was Tarantino at his weakest. Room was fine but not anywhere near noteworthy. Carol, a film surrounding two underdeveloped characters, was built on hype. The Oscars doesn’t have much going for it this awards season.
Some might blame this on the numerous pieces of Oscar bait that production companies have put out, but I find that to be more of a symptom of the overarching Hollywood illness that has been left untreated. The Oscars refuse to get with the times. It’s that simple. Film has changed, especially drama, and that’s something worth noting. Award shows should be applauding innovative releases, but instead they have firmly rooted themselves in the past.
This is what makes Oscar bait possible. It’s gotten to the point where one can predict what the Academy wants. Many times these films are nominated and many times they win. The process has become formulaic, laughable and malignant.
But where does horror fit in to this predictable equation? Well, it doesn’t. Horror is filmed, scored, lighted and acted in differently than what the Academy desires. What ends up happening is that strong films, such as the chilling It Follows, are ignored completely. Although The Academy was right in not including it in any of the acting categories, I strongly believe that it deserved at the very least a Best Cinematography and Original Score nod.
I’m bitter. I’m extremely bitter. I’ll be the first to admit that 95% of the genre is absolute garbage, but there’s a glorious 5% that deserves recognition. You’re telling me that the mess that is Forrest Gump won an Oscar but that the artful The Thing and The Shining didn’t? That’s blasphemy if I ever did see it.
There have been some horror films that the Oscars have taken note of, as was the case in 1974 when The Exorcist was a contender for Best Picture, but instances such as these happen so few and far between that they become more of a miracle than anything else.
Thankfully, I see some change on the horizon. Mad Max is the complete opposite of what the Academy usually goes for, and yet it received an impressive amount of nominations. Combine that with the organization altering their life-long membership policy, and suddenly there’s an avenue for hope.
Maybe things will start looking up. Maybe horror will be shown more love. It might take a while, and I’m sure countless movies will be ignored during this evolutionary process, but I’m optimistic that things are moving towards a more accepting awards season.
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