The Academy Awards is an opportunity for stars to congratulate each other, while the rest of the world scrutinises them intensely. But, while fashion faux pas and speech gaffes are to be expected, every year the short-list of nominees demonstrates the glaring inconsistencies within the Academy voting system.
The list of Best Film snubs is endless, quite simply because there is only one award, meaning common sense dictates that for every The Godfather there will invariably be a Driving Miss Daisy.
However, the real injustices are revealed when the nominees are first announced. For instance, how can a director, who has a film nominated for Best Picture, not be short-listed for Best Director?
I don't actually believe Argo is the best film nominated this year- Zero Dark Thirty and Amour are both far more complex- however, Ben Affleck's individual snub from the directors' category again begs the same question.
This conundrum is nothing new. Indeed, the 1970s was the high-water mark for American cinema, however, it still contains a list of injustices, the pain of which are still felt today.
Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) was ground breaking, becoming the first ever summer blockbuster after grossing an incredible $260-million at the box-office. The film was quite rightly nominated for Best Picture, however, the courageous young film maker who directed it was not nominated. This kind of high handed behaviour has continually made the Academy look foolish.
Some of the most famous snubs actually involve Martin Scorsese, who despite being one of the finest American filmmakers ever, was consistently ignored by the Academy. Ironically, after more than three decades of embarrassment, Scorsese received an Oscar in 2007 for The Departed, a film that was totally derivative of his earlier work.
In more recent times, there is an obvious explanation for Oscar snubs; aggressive marketing and laziness on the part of voters.
This is no more evident than in 2012, which was an unusually good year for arthouse pictures. In fact, this was borne out with the eventual winner, The Artist, which only succeeded because producing maestro and awards alchemist Harvey Weinstein fortuitously bought it at Cannes, and then proceeded to promote the hell out of it. Others were not so lucky.
From a UK perspective, Steve McQueen's excellent drama Shame was only nominated in one category, with Michael Fassbender missing out as one of the year's best leading actors. Also, Lynne Ramsey's harrowing We Need To Talk About Kevin, which featured a superb performance by Tilda Swinton, was completely ignored.
What both these films have in common, aside from being totally uncompromising, is that they do not fit the perceived Academy blue-print. If this is the case, studios generally do not get behind them, rendering them invisible to lazy Academy members.
In an ideal world Oscar voters should take in an interest in cinema as a whole, and not leave themselves vulnerable to the marketing juggernaut that hurtles through Hollywood every year.
The 85th Academy Awards take place on 24 February 2013.
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