When it comes to what I publish here I try to stick to reviews and analysis because while injecting opinion into reviews is part of the job of a critic, forcing your opinion on others is not the aim of the game. I occasionally share the odd one line comment on Twitter but I have the tendency to stick to my site. Sure if someone asks me my opinion on something I will give it openly because it is their choice to ask the question, or by extension read anything on my site. In recent weeks as Hollywood has worked its way towards the Oscars and other awards ceremonies have been and gone I have read a lot of comments and articles both embracing and hating the whole process. For most of it I have stayed quiet save for the odd joke on twitter or a passing comment to friends. I just wanted a chance to say why.
First of all, I started this blog less than a year ago, I have been writing on and off ever since I went to university 10 years ago but I never really connected with any of the community around me or online, resigned to the notion that nobody cared what I have to say. Hell, they still might not. I never really reached out or looked into what was around me and that included anything to do with awards season. I watched the Oscars each year but I never noticed it was a climax to a tumultuous period in the film calendar. This changed for me around the time #oscarssowhite came into existence in 2015.
Politics for me isn’t something I shy away from when I’m speaking with friends but more often than not, the best way to offend someone or to create enemies is to discuss politics. Much like I said earlier however, if you ask me, I will tell you. The presence of politics within films isn’t something I hadn’t noticed, I just hadn’t given thought to the idea that the awards we divvy out are just as politicised and the Oscars in particular falls prey to this. This year was in no way different.
Not only did the discussion of Bryan Singer and the merits of BoRhap spread across the internet but also a heated discussion of Peter Farrelly’s past comments and how it affects Green Book’s chances. Turns out, Rami Malek still took home both a Golden Globe and an Oscar and Green Book was named Best Picture. I’m not sure if this was Hollywood embracing controversy or embracing the popular choices but either line of thought should and will be discussed.
While I won’t go into detail on what should have won and my opinions on the whole affair I will say this. Oscar season, or award season in general is a way for a community to embrace film. Be it Hollywood handing out statues to films people wouldn’t see if they didn’t or the twitter community throwing praise on snubbed films that nobody has seen. It all helps bring light to different voices and for all the politics and machinations behind the scenes, every voice talking about it matters.
This doesn’t answer the question at the heart of this piece however. Why did I say nothing? From what I’ve written you would assume because I don’t talk about politics. That might be part of it but mostly I think it’s because after four years of paying attention, this is still all new to me, I’m still learning. For one I have only just noticed that the Oscars and the Golden Globes are vastly different beasts with the latter seeming more inclusive, if only because of the more varied awards and more expansive opportunities. Each show is constricted for various reasons and it takes multiple shows and years to properly grasp the why of it all, or it has for me, I might be a slow learner.
However while others have entered into the fray of discussion I shied away from it in favour of discussing it after the fact. Part of me thinks this might be cowardly, the gun-shy critic unwilling to back up his thoughts with action. The other part of me wanted all the facts. While I enjoy the spirited debate Twitter and #filmtwitter has to offer, sometimes the structure of it leads to misunderstandings and unfinished thoughts. I prefer getting the whole argument across, the full story. My grandmother was a quiet woman and at first I didn’t get it until my mother said to me that although she doesn’t say anything, don’t assume she has nothing to say. I might be a little bit like her I guess.
Personally I hope that when this time comes around next year, I’m a little more in the fray than I was this year but if I haven’t said anything on the topic, it isn’t because I haven’t considered it, or at least I hope it isn’t. The reason I choose to write is because the debate is important, the quiet voice when joined with someone else gets louder and when that principle gets applied to Independent films and little seen gems, it can only be a good thing. I hope that is something we can all agree on even if our choices and reasons for watching vary.
While this might be a more personal post than usual I thought it was an important one because although I hope my voice comes across through my reviews it strikes me that most of you don’t really know me and I don’t know you. I hope that changes over time and that I can find a rhythm to this whole process. For now I will just say thanks for reading and I hope to share my thoughts and listen to yours in the future.
TSR AKA George