Tuesday, 23 January 2018

When it comes to the Oscars, there is no such thing as a snub...

There is something that always bothers me about the 24 hour period after the Oscar nominations are announced. It happens every single year and this year is no different. Within hours of the announcements being made, the internet was awash with articles listing the "biggest snubs and surprises" of this year's nominations and it is the word snub that always riles me up.
The dictionary definition of snub is as follows:

Snub - "rebuff, ignore or spurn disdainfully" or "an act of rebuffing or ignoring someone or something"; "to insult someone by not giving them any attention or treating them as if they are not important"

This implies that a wilful intent to deliberately ignore the merits of a film or individual's contribution to that film but when it comes to the Oscars this is not really the case.
People do not go out of their way to actively campaign against someone getting a nomination and the system does not ask for members to vote against a person's performance.
If you want to look for something that cruelly mocks and rebuffs the efforts of filmmakers, then look no further than the Razzies e.g. mother! being nominated for multiple "awards".

Academy members are given one vote in each category to choose the single performance or work they were most impressed with. In certain categories, only members working in the same field may vote for their counterparts, as they are the most qualified to judge the work.

With 6687 members across a number of disciplines, it is an inevitability that some people will be overlooked or not even seen by everyone. No matter how much publicity certain films may receive or how many screeners are sent out.

So when a certain name is not read out during the nominations, it is not a snub. It is simply down to the fact they did not receive enough votes.

The more appropriate word would be "surprise" or "disappointment".

For example, it is deeply disappointing that Michael Stuhlbarg was not nominated for Call Me By Your Name. Particularly when you consider that he is in three of the nine nominated films for Best Picture. His monologue at the end of the film is beautiful and moving and the very definition of a supporting performance. Sadly he was up against strong performances from the five eventual nominees but also his co-star Armie Hammer who is the co-lead but placed in supporting category to avoid competing against Chalamet. Ultimately both missed out, potentially due to their votes being split between them.

Some of the names mentioned when it comes to the issue of today's "snubs" include Tom Hanks, The Florida Project, Wonder Woman, Martin McDonagh and James Franco.

Of these, the only one that could be considered a legitimate snub would be Franco. It is possible the negative news stories surrounding his sexual conduct put voters off, with the Academy keen to avoid any potential embarrassment on the night.
For everyone else, to complain about their omission from the list, implies that someone else who made the cut is not worthy of their spot. Can you say that, for example, Paul Thomas Anderson is not deserving of his Director nomination?

So when we talk about the Oscars, which is meant to be a celebration of film, let's stick to the positives and not the negatives.

Roll on March the 4th.

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