This year, one movie nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture undoubtedly deserves to win, but it has about as much chance of winning an Oscar as I do. Why? Because it's Toy Story 3.
The film's cinematography is beautifully crafted and the story is equally comedic, emotional and nostalgic. Not only has the film reaped critical praise, it is bright, suburban, popular and animated – all things the academy has overlooked in choosing a winner for the last decade.
In my mind, it is a problem that despite the movie's success, Toy Story 3 doesn't stand a fighting chance.
Before this year's Oscar nominees were released, I was able to correctly guess all 10 Best Picture contenders in five minutes flat, and it wasn't because I had seen them all and deemed them amazing films; the academy is just absurdly predictable.
All I had to do was know some seemingly impressive titles along with a vague synopsis and answer the following questions: Is the movie socially-minded? A biopic? Slightly dark without crossing any socially unthinkable boundaries of violence and/or sexuality? Any of these qualities usually determine whether a film is worthy of the prestigious award.
I don't know when the academy began restricting its definition of a good movie to include nothing but obscure titles, quirky independent films and dramatic works with social messages, but this has become the obvious trend of late.
Despite increasing the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten to help broaden the field, the academy's perceptions don't seem to be changing. It may finally nominate the science-fiction favorite or the beloved animated film, but these titles are never capable of winning.
Of course, award shows don't have the only word on what constitutes quality entertainment. The Grammys, for example, are too long, and the Golden Globes are, well, the Golden Globes. The Academy Awards, though, used to mean something. They were a celebration of film, an acknowledgement and an honor for outstanding work done each year.
You cannot truly find the best of something unless you fairly consider every option. The academy does nominate good movies, sometimes even unexpected ones, but it's usually in accordance with a singular definition of ‘good.' The basic concept of a movie is to entertain audiences, but films today somehow lose merit if they do not go beyond entertainment.
So come on, academy. One day, choose a comedy, a superhero flick or a cartoon, because audiences aren't ashamed to appreciate these films, and I don't see why you should be.