Earlier today, a piece that I wrote for SF Signal went online, about the aftermath of the Oscars, with the movie Avatar failing to capture a number of the major awards for which it had been nominated. Awards are interesting things, and ever year, without fail, there is the general number of complaints about which film was awarded any given award, generally with the Best Picture award, and this year is no different.
Thinking back on the issue, I'm fairly thrilled that Avatar was shut out of the award, simply because I didn't think that the film was worthy of the award. There's undoubtedly people who will disagree, but on the whole, Avatar's most notable achievement was the extraordinary amounts of money that it raked in, and the special effects. The film did win for the visual effects category, as it should have, and at the end of the day, with a movie earning billions at the box office, what can an Academy Award really do to improve upon it? Not a whole lot.
Personally, I felt that if there was any film that was really shut out of the entire Academy, it was Duncan Jones' Moon, for which it rightfully should have been at least nominated for Picture, Director, Actor and probably a bunch of other things. The film never had a big push from its studio, Sony Pictures, and the nominations went on without it. It was disappointing, to be sure, but looking over that, I can't honestly think of any good, practical reason to really be annoyed over the lack of an award. I loved Moon for its story, characters and sets, and earning an award would have merely been icing on the cake. Nice to have, but not essential. I loved the movie for the movie, not for the awards that it would have won.
Awards are certainly nice - they bring a director to certain visibility, which certainly helps with future endeavors, but in some of these cases, these are directors who have rapidly become well known within the speculative fiction genre: Duncan Jones, Neill Blomkamp, James Cameron - these are all fairly well known members of the genre now, as their films gained considerable acclaim while their movies were out, and in all likelihood, they'll be working with other projects within the genre. It's recognition after the fact by one's peers is one thing, certainly, but these films have already been recognized on a number of other levels already - there's verification that the movies are good, people enjoy them and that they'll likely be classics in the field. (Well, Avatar, probably not) The award itself is a thank you after the fact, a superficial pride thing that has absolutely nothing to do with how I feel about the movie.
Moon, District 9 or Inglorious Bastards winning an Oscar? That would be awesome. But I still like them all the same.