Awards and statistics

I’m glad The Hurt Locker won this year’s Oscar. It’s a better film than the usual winner.

I have a problem, though, with the whole idea of a vote certifying film quality. It sends a message I don’t like, that there is a proper taste, and a proper knowledge. Being a film buff, and one who vocalizes his tastes clearly, I find that people are often intimidated by my opinions. They’ll say they liked a film, but “don’t know as much as I do”. Why should anyone accept any judgement expressed by someone with more film viewings under their belt?

The voting process, and the nomination process, are nothing more than statistical averaging. If you reformulate “film A won the award over film B” as “60% of voters preferred film A over film B”, winning seems less impressive. If you figure that “voters” may or may not be a proper sample of “general viewers”, it is less impressive still. If “voters” means “industry insiders”, wonder how many films this industry makes that you like. What do industry insiders know about your tastes, then?

Awards and critical acclaim should be taken lightly. As lightly, or probably more lightly, than Amazon.com recommendations based on past purchases. This is extensive to everything that has subjective value. Why accept that this particular wine is good? Or this CD? Or this book? If you don’t like them, who has the authority to say you’re wrong?

Back to The Hurt Locker, I did enjoy it, and I do recommend it. But looking back at a full year of DVDs, my favorites have been, by far, Star Trek and The King of Kong. Personal choices, as are all choices.

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About Jaime Silvela

My favorite chemical element is Potassium.
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3 Responses to Awards and statistics

  1. viejecita says:

    About best film Oscar winners, I’ve been looking with Bing, and found out some data:
    1930 Cimarron won, (City lights did not), 1936 The Great Zigfield won (not Modern Times, or My Man Godfrey), 1944 Going my way won (not Laura), 1951 An American in Paris won (not A Streetcar named Desire), 1968 Oliver won (not 2001 A space Odissey), 1976 Rocky won ( not Taxi Driver), 1982 Gandhi won (not ET: the extraterrestrial), 1998 Shakespeare in Love won (not The Thin Red Line)

    And these a only a few of the blunders made by the academy voters.
    You know a film was really good when you can watch it again, and again, years after it was released.
    Many awards go to films which did not really deserve them, as compensation for other films , made by the same crew which had been unfairly forgotten. Or go to films with the in-message-of-the-moment, or about some politically correct minority, that happens to be fashionable at the moment.

    But the Great Beautiful films remain forever, regardless of their having got many awards or none at all.

  2. I agree. But I saw My Man Godfrey recently, and I think it has aged badly.

  3. viejecita says:

    ¿Did you watch the Powell- Lombard version, or the David Niven one?.
    Because, just having the first two giving tit for tat to each other is such a feast!
    Maybe not enough time has gone by for us to be able to accept the gymkanas, the leisurely life of the women in that family , or the tremendous class differences taken for granted in the film, and in most comedies of that period.
    But just wait a few years more, and ” My man Godfrey” will be shown in sociology courses…

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