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Lights Camera Ashton

Lights, Camera, Ashton: The plus and minuses of awards season

Will Ashton observes the good and the not-so-good about the movie award season.

Let it be known: we’re fully immersed into awards season. As the leaves change colors and the weather gets colder, more and more movies seep into the multiplexes with high-caliber actors crying and shouting their way into Oscar voters’ ballots.

Yes, for movie fans like myself, this is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, there are a ton of (seemingly) great movies coming to theaters, kicking crap like Ouija to the curb, and allowing genuine filmmaking efforts to shine in their full glory. Sure, some destined stinkers like Horrible Bosses 2 pop up along the way, but this is still the time when the best of the best find their ways into theaters.

But, alas, with all these great movies to choose from comes the disgruntled realization that, well, there are just too many good movies to pick from. This sounds like a first-world problem if there ever was one, I’m aware. But speaking for us with college-student wallets and a limited amount of time, we moviegoers have to pick and choose which (hopefully) great movies we can see with our time.

And so each November, December and early January, it’s a clusterf--k of Oscar hopefuls, in addition to action blockbusters and whatever else comes out to choose from, storming their ways into the theaters. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to have to pick from six or seven movies that premiere on any given weekend. Because the Academy has a short-term memory, all these award movies have to bump their heads against one another for our love and affection.

Considering that there was a time this September where the only new movie coming out was Dolphin Tale 2 one week, and a re-release of Forrest Gump the week prior, is it too much to ask that some of these movies be pushed back just a month or two? I understand the logic behind the awards season pile-up, but why does everything have to be about awards?

These days, the more I listen to commentary about upcoming movies, the more I hear conversations changing from whether or not the film will be good to just how many Oscars it’ll get. Even some recent critical and financial successes like Gone Girl and Interstellar are being deemed semi-failures for not living up to their Oscar buzz. When did the merits of a film matter squarely on whether or not it got one or two naked man statues?

For the longest time, films were released at any point in time in the year. Best Picture winners like Silence of the Lambs were released in February, and nobody really made a fuss about it. Now, it’s hard to believe that anything before April could even be considered for a prize. It’s all a matter of politics, I guess, but I just don’t get the principles anymore. All right, I get them, but I think they are just ridiculous at this point.

Some movies are going to get Oscars and some aren’t. Believe me, a lot of movies that do end up getting awards aren’t even the best of the bunch, by a good mile or so. So why does this all matter still? Can’t we just go to the movies and have fun? If I remember correctly, that’s what movies were made for.

Will Ashton is a senior studying journalism and a writer for The Post. Email him at or find him on Twitter at @thewillofash.

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