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Will Ashton

Lights, Camera, Ashton: Film awards might be pointless, but I still love the Oscars

Awards are meaningless, especially ones for movies. Films and individual tastes are subjective, so to rank films in terms of achievements on par with sports or other recreational activity is silly and often self-congratulatory. But despite that, I love the Oscars.

Oscar season is a fantastic time of year. It’s the annual time when films are not only appreciated, but celebrated; when the enthusiasm and personal achievements of hard working, talented people are acknowledged and praised, and those who gave incredible performances or threw tedious hours into writing, producing, directing, editing or any other Hollywood job get to walk home with a congratulatory naked gold man.

Well, this is what the Oscars are supposed to be about. Typically, too much politics, money-passing and peer-pleasing are involved for many to get their rightful due, but that doesn’t matter in the long run.

Whoever wins at the end of the day is rarely the end-all, be-all greatest anyway. And what one feels about the winners’ work doesn’t change now that some naked golden men are beside them. Just because Sandra Bullock has an Oscar for The Blind Side doesn’t mean she gave the best female performance of that year — in my book, at least — and, similarly, does that mean that Ernest & Celestine is a weaker movie than Frozen? Everything is ultimately up to personal interpretation.

With the ceremonies set to begin on Sunday — when awards-hosting god Neil Patrick Harris hopefully lets us forget what a trainwreck Ellen DeGeneres was last year — whether the winners called are what I agree with or not, I get annoyingly excited for it, despite my better judgments. Even though these stupid awards lead to tons of Oscar-baity movies, filled with overacting performers and loud, utterly mundane scores forcing emotions from you, there’s a rush that comes from Oscar Sunday.

Much like an exciting semifinal game in the last quarter, there’s a competitive spirit in the area that’s as infectious as it is grading. Though in two weeks time it’s not going to make all that much of a difference if Michael Keaton wins the Oscar over Eddie Redmayne or vice versa. That’s not going to stop me from cheering for Keaton though, and wanting him to be recognized for his decades of good work and excellent performance in Birdman this past year. And quite frankly, is it a big deal that people like me feel this way?

While the people involved probably don’t feel this — especially the losers — the Academy Awards are essentially one big, fun game. An expensive, extra-long board game with real life people wearing silly clothes and participating in overdrawn activities; it’s not too different from the Super Bowl. It’s when you get to cheer because Whiplash got a well-deserved Oscar or bemoan how many awards American Sniper whips up. It’s also a good time to make a couple extra bucks or lose some, depending on what kind of gambling buddies you have.

So yes, the Oscars are a phony, melodramatic and pointless affair, but so are most things in life. If it means I get to have some fun for a couple hours, then I think it’s worth it. It’s not going to change my world, but it’ll keep me engaged, and I won’t think too much of it after the credits roll. After all, it’s all just a game anyway.

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

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