Sophie

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Is Oscar Baiting Real?

    With every year comes a new award season and while there are always surprise contenders (Moonlight [2016], Room [2015], Slumdog Millionaire [2008]), there are always films that everyone views as being made purely to receive awards and acclaim.

    The recent commentary surrounding La La Land (2016) as being awarded purely because Hollywood like a film about itself; any number of period dramas (The Kings Speech [2010, The Artist [2011]) as well as films that don’t do too well at the box office but receive multiple Academy Award nominations.

    Is there anything wrong with this?
    Is the ‘Oscar Bait’ a valid category of film? Is it a genre?

    • This could definitely be an interesting topic to discuss. You could look at the common features of movies such as La La Land and how these turn a movie from something made for the public to something made for the awards. Are there certain themes, genres (drama, action, comedy), and/or plot lines that are used in 'Oscar Bait' movies? – SophIsticated 3 years ago
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    • It is definitely and interesting topic to discuss. Particularly the point about Hollywood loving a film about itself and acting in general. The success of The Artist, Birdam and La La Land at the oscars is a great example as they are all vastly different movies but all have that one Hollywood aspect in common. – AbbeyThorpe 3 years ago
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    • Very interesting topic for discussion. It's undeniable that oscar baiting is prevalent in the production, timing and distribution of films nowadays but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a genre or category but more a by-product of studio's self-importance. The only thing more farcical than films pandering to Hollywood was the worldwide outrage surrounding DiCaprio's (deserved and overdue) Oscar win. – danieljubb 3 years ago
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    • I think this topic could definitely use some exploring. I think for the most part, a good film has a set formula to execute and achieve in order to snatch that Oscar and it's almost entirely undeniable to say that some movies don't set out with those awards in mind. However, I think even though these movies don't always appeal to the public it doesn't necessarily take away from their beauty or brilliance. This is for sure an interesting discussion and eludes to that greater issue of Hollywood simply patting themselves on the back or actuality creating art for the sake of art (and not an award). – JulieCMillay 3 years ago
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    • Sophie Vannan,My colleagues above are kind in saying that the topic is interesting, but I'd go so far as to say that not only is it interesting, it IS absolutely real.You need only look at the difference between critical accolades/Oscar wins and box-office earnings to see that there is a gulf of difference between what folks in the Academy like and what the public likes.Take this into consideration. The following is a list of the movies that have won the Oscar for best picture in the last four years:2016: Moonlight 2015: Spotlight 2014: Birdman 2013: 12 Years a SlaveThese movies were given the award by the people who made the movies. Now, let's see which movies would've won if the award was given by the people who watch the movies (I'm basing these "winners" on box-office returns; I got these figures from thenumbers.com):2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 2015: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 2014: American Sniper 2013: The Hunger Games: Catching FireAs I said, there's a huge difference as to why the movies that people most care about are the ones that so often get overlooked during award season. I think that, in large part, this is due to Oscar baiting. Perhaps the best way to proceed would be to see 1. what kind of "bait" do modern directors use and 2. why doesn't the public care about it given it's obvious divergence from critical opinion.Thanks for your time, August – August Merz 3 years ago
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