The 89th Academy Awards, the biggest night in Hollywood, will undoubtedly draw a crowd, and that crowd will mostly be people looking to see who won Best Picture. However, the Best Picture nominee is not the only thing that is interesting about the Oscars; if it was, the multi-million dollar production would be over with in five minutes. So, the question is, why, on the most basic of levels, do the Oscars matter? Here’s a hint: it has absolutely nothing to do with film-making and everything to do with people.
On Saturday February 25th, Bill Paxton, after complications with a heart surgery, died. The Hollywood Reporter, taking a break from the Oscar hype, decided to report Ron Howard’s tribute to the late actor:
“Bill was playful — yet dutiful — in his work as an actor, and likewise capable of being a strong and serious leader when directing a challenging scene on a movie set.
He loved adventure, and no one was happier than Bill when we were filming our zero-G scenes for Apollo 13 out over the Gulf of Mexico in NASA’s KC-135, nicknamed The Vomit Comet. For the record, Bill never lost his lunch through all those weightless scenes.”
The tribute, which can be viewed in its entirety on THR’s website, makes an important and often overlooked piece of the Oscars and the movie-making experience in general; one that now is only ever recognized in the In Memoriam section- the people who make films in the first place. Today, it is difficult to find a celebrity who doesn’t voice their political opinions for the entire world to see, and politics, frankly, are exhausting and incredibly divisive, especially when from an ideological standpoint Hollywood alienates half of its viewing audience every single year whenever politics are brought into the Oscars.
The day that the Academy rediscovers the reason behind the Oscars, will be a day that Hollywood will be forced to take a long look at itself and its values.