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Are the Oscars American or international?

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Among the many different problems – above all: the epidemic, the crisis of cinema and the increasingly alarming decline in television viewers – the Oscars, which will take place on the night between March 27 and 28, also make you face a kind of identity crisis, or At least the direction to take. In short, like he wrote Fox, who organizes the Oscars “can’t decide whether it has anything to do with the world or just the United States.” In other words, it doesn’t seem clear as to whether it would be better and more beneficial to target a major event Sweetenedhas been watched all over the world but most of it relates to the cinema of one country, the United States, or whether it is better to open up to world cinema, to those who do it and those who watch it.

It is a question that involves choices between different paths, with relative advantages and disadvantages, due to modern causes and processes but also as a result of the thinking that already existed when, at the end of the 1920s, the first Academy Awards were awarded. , which were then called only the Oscars.

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The main fact is that, as Alyssa Wilkinson writes FoxThe Academy Awards themselves were created precisely to save Hollywood. At the end of the 1920s, what was already the world’s largest film industry was in a difficult period. Despite the success and fortune that it achieved, Hollywood had to deal with image problems and was seen as a very terrible and absurd industry, something that there was no need to bet much. In addition, many working in Hollywood (actors, directors, screenwriters, as well as crew members) insisted on better working conditions and the possibility of forming their own unions.

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At the suggestion and initiative Louis B. Mayer, one of the founders of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (or MGM), in 1927 founded AMPAS, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which since 1927 began to award its prizes: immediately in the form of a figurine, but not yet named an award ceremony The Oscars. AMPAS was used by producers to handle more contractual power with employees and the Academy Awards, in combination offered to the Fox By historian David Thompson, “a public relations process to promote the idea that Hollywood was a great place where great and exciting stories were created.”

In the early years of the Oscars, a lot of business was in the United States, and a lot of interest was evident in that country’s audience. Over time, the cinema of the rest of the world also became aware of the Oscars and tried to take part in them. The first foreign film to be nominated for the first prize was in 1939. great delusion, a French film (but also shown in German, Russian and English) by Jean Renoir. In 1946 the Swiss film Marie Louise He was the first to win an Oscar for Best Screenplay. But how little the Oscars care about the rest of the world is evidenced by the fact that the award for Best Foreign Film was established only in 1956, and the fact that this award remained secondary for many decades.

The problem is that among the many Oscar categories geared mostly and almost always to award US or at least English-language films, the Best Foreign Film category, which in 2020 was dubbed only “Best International Film”, has remained a kind of protection. enclosure for other people’s movies. Only 12 times in the history of the Academy Awards has a non-English language film been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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in 2020 victory One of the most important Oscars from South Korea parasite It was something historical, in its own way, and it is also remarkable that this year’s Japanese film driving my car Nominated in four categories – Best Film, Best International Film, Best Director, Best Non-Original Screenplay – and Danish run away It was nominated not only as Best International Film but also as Best Documentary and Best Animated Film. Apart from these recent examples, the fact remains, he wrote Fox“In absolute terms, the majority of the winners were English-language films, many of which were produced in the United States.”

Based on a series of decisions aimed at making the representation of the thousands of professionals who make up the Academy more diverse and international, there are those who believe the Academy Awards, however, are universal, with the goal of becoming American awards to the world. Cinema. Welcoming in their own way a change that appears to have been done well elsewhere for some time, with international Netflix series and movies or with the fact that, also due to the pandemic, revenue outside the US – especially in China – is increasingly decisive. as written Fox, “In order not to become irrelevant, and perhaps even insolvent, Hollywood must change and expand.” In this sense, the Oscars will only adapt to this change in turn.

Those who see the Academy Awards as international awards, capable of increasing the fame (and box office) of films that may struggle in the United States, are opposed, however, by those who think they should instead remain true to tradition and focus mostly on American cinema. : Partly to “defend” it, partly to prevent the Academy Awards from becoming important awards but not very much followed in the United States, the country from which they are broadcast and for which the ceremony is designed.

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There are a number of reasons (including obvious ones Golden Globes crisis, the only awards that, albeit in their own way, really tried to compete with the Academy Awards) make the next few years decisive in deciding whether the Academy Awards will take a more dangerous international path or will instead attempt with greater determination to make an attractive comeback first in the United States, perhaps Think of ceremonies or awards that matter the most watched films in the United States and not films, perhaps beautiful and celebrated, but little seen. Indeed, it is difficult to think that, even with all possible outlines, a large number of spectators would be interested in a gala that will reward films, directors, actors, actresses and various members who have worked on little-known films in about twenty categories. .

It’s not certain that what would be appropriate in Hollywood is the same as what would be appropriate in the Academy and the Academy Awards, and above all, it’s not clear at the moment what would really be more comfortable. Wilkinson, in his article, is clearly inclined towards a greater internationalization of the Oscars, writing: “A generation of young viewers who have grown up on the Internet can be more open to the prospects of world cinema, and more attentive to what is happening around the world. Globalism. And if the academy is to keep pace with developments, and ensure that the ceremony retains the dominance it has enjoyed for nearly a century, it must adapt, and it must do so quickly.”

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