My dear friends Scott from Scotland (real name, real location) commented on my recent Oscars post the other day by saying “[this is] the first time I’m offended by your writing. I’ll sit quietly over here and tut insistently at you for several of your remarks.”
Immediately I was like “you’re a liar,” because there’s no way that anyone who has known me for as long as Scott has is only JUST becoming offended by something I’ve said. But then I was like, you know what, I’m going to encourage this — because I’m not afraid.
So I told him to write a rebuttal and that I would post it, no questions asked.
I do have a question — how is it even possible that the rest of the world doesn’t hold Leo in the same regard as I do? But I will also absolutely post it. Because it’s awesome. Because he took the time to write it. & because he’s completely and 100 per cent correct in his own opinions.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Scott.
“Last night I was a little intrigued to see an article written by my dear friend Andria begrudging the Academy Awards. Now, that is not surprising, it was not the first I had seen (see the other 500 articles/think pieces written each year dismissing the much heralded annual film awards).
Firstly, when talking about film I refuse to trust anyone who thinks Leonardo DiCaprio is a god amongst actors (I’m looking at you Andria) and the fact he has never won an Oscar is by no means a valid reason for dismissing the Academy Awards. I shall briefly address this detail now by declaring outright that Leonardo DiCaprio has NEVER deserved to win an Oscar and we all need to stop falling over ourselves at how fantastic/amazing/wonderful/ he allegedly is. He is fine. I could go on but that is for another time (or because I have berated too many people with this lecture before, for which I am both sorry and not sorry in equal measure).
I shall state at this point that this is not going to be a defense of the Academy Awards, even though I find there to be a lot to commend in regards to their value upon the film industry. Quite honestly there are countless valuable reasons to frown upon their questionable choices throughout the years; I mean nobody should trust a voting body that is 94% Caucasian, 77% male and with an average age of 64 years old as a relevant means of judging today’s cinematic output. And for full disclosure I shall state that I gave the most guttural wretch when it was announced that ‘Birdman’ had won Best Picture over this year’s definitive masterpiece ‘Boyhood’.
It was actually in further reading of Andria’s article that I found what was truly shocking to me: I don’t think she truly understands the value of film itself, a realization that had me throwing my hands to my face, gobsmacked that a friend of mine was so readily letting the power of cinema escape them.
Yes, isn’t it a wonderful feeling when a film can make you feel so giddily happy that you just want to do a hundred cartwheels in a row to physically demonstrate that euphoric joy! But, isn’t it a wonderful feeling when a film can make you feel so deeply that it brings you to tears, or even to uncontrollable rage? I understand that its hard to take these two responses and assimilate them as one overarching appreciation for film, but the power to evoke honest emotion so passionately is a testament to great craft. We should never shy away from an emotional experience, because it is those moments in life that stick with and inspire us. Sure it is great to watch something light and cheerful when the mood calls for it, but once in a while allow something that might take a little more time to take you on an evocative and beautifully recognized journey.
I struggle when people choose to compare artistic mediums when their delivery and content is so vastly different. Literature offers so much in the way of rich, textured use of language and potent ideas for the mind to illustrate for itself. Film takes the artistic expression to a collaborative level by presenting one vision fully realized before the viewer, with countless elements combined to create one artistic package. Each can offer so much to its consumer that nobody should limit themselves to one or the other for particular value. Film is now of course a far more accessible medium than the likes of a novel, in that a film need only take a few hours of an individual’s time, yet can allow them to be placed within the world of another, gaining empathy and insight through a fully realized vision.
I did say I wasn’t going to write a defense for the Academy Awards, but now I’m going to go back on my word a little bit to suggest why we need that glorified night of Hollywood ass kissing. As glorious as the red carpets and single use evening wear are, that isn’t the important part. It’s what that shiny little golden man stands for in lieu of the current cinematic climate. As big studios focus their money grabbing energy into the international (most notably Chinese) expenditure, where so much is compromised on behalf of unspeakable explosive extravaganza; awards season, as contrived as it can be, still creates a breeding ground for prestige film-making. Awards create a good means of selling films to the audiences, so as long as the platform is there for recognizing great film making (even with frequently peculiar choices) we are always going to have a plethora of great film to see each and every year. Of course this doesn’t mean we don’t get great films year round that are out of the conversation entirely. The cinematic landscape is vast and ever changing, but the Oscars provide a climactic point to get everyone excited and talking about what they have seen within their film going year.
‘Entertainment’ and exactly what that means shall never be the same from person to person, but I shall stand firm on the fact that it is not limited to something for you to ‘enjoy’ in the simplistic sense or to make you ‘happy’ in the simplistic sense either. Though who am I to point the finger at people who approach film differently from me, of course everyone is entitled to find what works for them and enjoy the cinematic experience in their own way. It is opinion that shapes conversation after all. But, who would I be if i didn’t shine a light upon all the value that great film making can bring to the world. There is so much endless wonder to be discovered in film and for many it might just take stepping outside of that comfortable familiarity once in a while and challenging yourself to discover something amazing.
So Andria, next time I have the pleasure of seeing you perhaps we need to take some time to overcome your underlying film anxieties and take a trip with our beloved Meryl Streep to find out just why it was that Sophie had to make that choice.”
P.S. Are you outrageously offended by something I have said in the past? Are you offended by my existence in general? Your rebuttals are always welcome. Except to my existence. My mom would probably get a kick out of them, but I think that’s mean.