Another long Oscar season drew to a close last night. I consider “Birdman” a worthy winner – you may have noticed it on my Top 10 Films of 2014. But more importantly, I think it firmly entrenched a fascinating new trend in Academy history.
To see my thoughts on why our image of what makes an “Oscar movie” is (or should be) changing, check out The New Republic:
2 thoughts on ““Birdman” and the Changing Oscar Movie”
I think there is something interesting going on here, but I think you’re overlooking a big part of the story. Movies like Hollywood epics and historical dramas don’t fare as well largely because Hollywood doesn’t invest as many resources into them now. There’s the big tentpole movies, and then independent film. There is traditional Oscar bait, but isn’t being nourished the way it was during the 1980s and 1990s. If such films got the A-list treatment now that they did then, they would likely do better.
I think the crisis is there, but movies about movies stand out as uniquely appealing in the landscape of difficult prestige film and franchises and blockbusters.
You raise a good point – traditional, prestige dramas are, to a point, not just being ignored, but boxed out of Hollywood altogether. The Brits keep pumping them out (“The Imitation Game,” “Philomena,” etc.) but there is a stark gap growing between the Sundance flick and the summer blockbuster, with not a lot in between. I think it all relates back to the same source, though – TV and the internet are, in many ways, filling in that solid, prestige drama gap, which is pushing Hollywood to the extreme of bigger and bigger tentpole projects in order to prove that they’re “special.”