Fans share their reservations regarding the film award industry

Every January, the film community at Georgia State and beyond eagerly awaits the time of year known as “awards season.” Among the prestigious film and television awards are the BAFTA Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and the best known, the Oscars. 

Movie enthusiasts gather to create predictions for the nominations and awards and to promote their favorite beloved movies from the past season.

Among the most popular films of 2019 are Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.” But the film that was awarded the most nominations (11) was Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” much to the consternation of movie critics.

Phillips suspected a movie highlighting this issue would not succeed in theaters, so he added a supervillain twist to make the film more marketable. 

One of the most common critiques of this year’s nominations was the list of nominees for best director. The five directors nominated were all male, despite the call for more recognition for female directors. Many were disappointed by not seeing Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”) or Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) on this list.

One particular director who may have been overlooked is Gerwig. “Little Women,” based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of the same name, received a total of six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan). 

Fans claimed that Greta was “snubbed” due to her status as a female director in a male-dominated field.

“Like many sports-averse pop culture nerds, I often say that the Academy Awards are my Super Bowl,” Margaret H. Willison said in her NBC News editorial. “Yet on the morning nominations are announced, I am often forced to ask myself something I have asked my sports-loving friends as they tie themselves in knots during decisive games: Why do you invest so much energy in something that mostly makes you miserable?”

Women, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals share the thought that they are often overlooked in many industries, due to situational circumstances as well as systemic barriers and discrimination.

“Racial and gender hierarchies are structural and material,” Crispin Sartwell, a philosophy professor at Dickinson College, wrote in an article for The New York Times. “They have to do with differential access to power and resources, along with the daily privilege that attends them. These could continue even in the face of a representationally perfect movie industry, I’m afraid, and I expect that we will prove that by experiment.”

Other assumed snubs include Jennifer Lopez for supporting actress (“Hustlers”), Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler for leading actors (“Dolemite Is My Name” and “Uncut Gems,” respectively), and Awkwafina for leading actress (“The Farewell”).

But perhaps the biggest backlash against the Oscar nominations was the underrepresentation of people of color.

Ruth E. Carter, costume designer for “Dolemite Is My Name,” made history last year when she received the Oscar for best costume design for “Black Panther,” the first black person to do so. This year, however, Carter was not even listed among the nominations. 

As commentary on Oscar nominations develops into commentary on Oscar awards, many fans admit disappointment in the film awards industry. As the average Georgia State student can see from a quick scroll through what is trending on their Twitter feeds, celebrities, film enthusiasts and minorities share the thought of being fed up with awards committees. 

Whether or not awards season will continue to foster these feelings of resentment in future years is yet to be known. But the most common demand is for the Academy and others to do better.