Oscars 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )
Did you know why an award given by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is called an Oscar?
An Oscar award is probably the nearest thing to a 'Holy Grail' for cinema.
But, did you know why an award given by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is called an Oscar?
I'm asking only because I didn't know it for a long time. And found out recently enough to be embarrassed about it.
An official who worked there thought the golden trophy looked like her Uncle Oscar.
That's all it took. And now it gets called that more than 'The Academy Award'.
In 2013, the Academy Awards were officially rebranded as The Oscars.
It is a fickle world I tell you. Some things stick just like that. Forever. And some things just don't. No matter what you do.
Don't ever expect to read too much into why things happen.
If you're wondering why I am on this seemingly meaningless rant. I'd say I have my reasons.
But then it's purely up to you to give in to believing it. Just like watching movies. The film has its own reasons to be made. It's whether you are able to suspend disbelief while watching it or not.
For those still interested and reading.
I'm ranting because I find it unfair to reduce a good year of many very good films and a few great ones to just the big winners on the Oscar night.
Oscars are the finale of the awards season. Not all of it. I don't think even Oscar nominees that don't end up winning an award get their due.
It's always about the films that win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Extend that to Best Supporting Actor and Actress at best.
That's it. An inordinately less number of films soak up all the attention.
And God forbid, if there's a year of one movie sweeping Oscars across categories. Literally everything that got nominated along with 'Titanic' sank.
Except that those kind of big sweeps are usually unquestioned. 11 Oscars. The only others are Ben-Hur and 'The Lord Of the Rings: The Return of The King'. With the latter being the only film to win everything it was nominated for.
But otherwise. The debate is always about whether these films were worth the jury creating instant global sensations out of them.
The common refrain invariably is, aren't all Oscar winners over-rated?
Well yes. Sometimes. Okay, quite a few times. But one thing you can be certain about. All the nominees are at the least, good films. At most, all-time classics.
And then there are films that were not even nominated for a single Oscar. And yet have done the rounds in the awards circuit this season. They even boast of box-office success or being released on Netflix. Films that have been watched and appreciated. And also have high rotten tomatoes score to boot.
I feel for them. Some of them make for great cult films.
Like this year's 'Dolemite Is My Name'. One of my personal favourites that made me laugh my guts out.
Eddie Murphy in a biopic about a 1970s stand up comedian who made cult movies from the blaxploitation era. And is referred to as the godfather of rap.
Eddie was even nominated for the Best Actor Golden Globe in the Comedy/Musical category. But not at the Oscars.
A film made with great love and affection to its subject. 'Dolemite is My Name' is one of those movies where it feels like everyone involved had a ball working on it.
Most importantly for us, it's produced by and released on Netflix.
Then there are other films that even make for great family viewing.
Like this year's 'The Farwell'. A beautiful tale of a Chinese family uniting to say their last goodbye to the grandmother who is about to pass away. Except that they don't want her to know about it. And so they pretend that they've all come home together for a wedding.
This heartwarming tear-jerker is based on its woman director Lulu Wang's life experiences.
Lead star Awkwafina even won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. And the film was a box office hit in America.
But both she and the film are a no show at the Oscars.
In fact, some of the non-nominated films can surprise you with things that you wouldn't have ever thought of.
Like comic legend Adam Sandler as the leading man in a seriously tense thriller with dark unsettling undertones.
Here's an actor whose name itself screams comedy, experimenting in the truest sense. And pulling it off. And ending up as one of the most under-rated performances. I feel for him. He was in the running for a Best Actor nomination.
'Uncut Gems' by Safdie brothers is about a charismatic Jewish-American diamond district jeweller, a gambling addict, navigating shady deals and dire consequences.
And it, unfortunately, becomes the almost undiscovered gem.
So let all the debates rage on about the winners.
The real joy is in watching these films that I'd like to call - The Dark Knights of the Oscars.
And then, of course, showing off how you've picked out the truly deserving ones. But please don't. I do not endorse that type of behaviour.
Watch them because they are so good, that they can take the snubbing from the Oscars. And still, make movie history of their own.
They exist in the shadows to show the world what light is.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)