When we talk about movies – and art in general – lots are said about likes and personal opinions at the end. Even so, this year, the famous and always controversial Academy Awards clarified the following points that I’d now like to share.
- It’s just as bad to award a film that follows a book as to award what is politically correct only.
A little while after the event, I had a short discussion about the three favourites for Best Picture (La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight). My friends said to me that none of them deserved the Oscar, unlike Hidden Figures. The reason they gave me was that it was a perfect film from the perspective of any narrative model.
I recognise the perfection of the film, and I myself believe that it well deserves its nomination. I also accept this fact, I liked the film because it has various elements that makes it one that I’m sure I will enjoy watching in the cinema. Even so, I don’t think it deserves the award. Why? Meticulously following the instructions turns you into a great specialist, which we should all recognise. But it doesn’t turn you into an artist. Going by the book, but above all, knowing how you should follow it makes you intelligent and exemplary. But until there. By solely going by the book, in the movies as in life, it is to live fulfilled of knowledge but without generating more knowledge. In a more philosophical perspective, we take away the pleasure of life. By following the rules, we wouldn’t have had Allen Ginsberg, Turner, Delacroix, Julio Cortazar, among others. Solely doing it takes away the art and eliminates its brilliance.
That is on the one hand. But I also believe we shouldn’t apply ourselves to awarding only that which is currently politically correct. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discrediting Moonlight and its award as a good film just because of the subject it talks about. I only want to bring forward that we should not guide ourselves and limit ourselves to awarding those things that go with contemporary discussions. It’s as dangerous to lead us to admire something just because it is politically correct as awarding someone who only rigidly follows the instructions.
It limits freedom because it refuses diversity no matter the ideological wing it defends. It limits creativity and creates discursive dictatorships. Certainly, art is a form of changing cultures, and accepting more diversity allows social transformations. But art isn’t always political, despite lots of positions like that of Pasolini. There are times when simple human expression is enough to admire, and we should not darken that for political or social reasons.
- The richness of diverse opinions.
This is an easy point to say and appreciate, at least ideally. But it’s difficult to achieve. There will always be different opinions. Those of the experts, those of the fans, those of who don’t care at all about it. And between these groups, there will hardly be one single opinion. This is what is rich about the subject – that people in their distinct natures, in the midst of different personalities and contexts, will always have different opinions. We can’t expect everyone to think the same, we can’t make everyone have the same opinion. Still what we can do is create respect for the diverse opinions of others. This makes us bountiful, this makes us grow. This makes the Oscar’s evening parties and betting pools more fun!
We must generate a world where free opinion and discussion exist in the middle of a respectful environment. But always trying to find connections and conventions.
- Should awards consider a person and not only their art?
Being a genious doesn’t justify inhumanity. Much has been said about whether it was ethical to award Casey Affleck after various criticisms regarding his attitudes towards women, especially colleagues. This brings into mind past cases of admired individuals in the industry with similar criticisms like Polanski and Woody Allen.
But can we separate his art from his work? Should we give awards to these people despite the way they’re living their life? I don’t have a final opinion indeed. But I believe we should start to discuss it. If you do well in your career, does it even matter how you do it? If we change the context, would we like the same from a politician or a teacher? Does it matter how many students are harassed by the teacher as long as he or she produces a generation with the best academic performance?
I don’t think so, and I believe me must start bearing it in mind. They’re role models and public figures, and at the end of the day life is not well achieved merely due to its professional and artistic successes, but also by how one lives this success in a personal, social and human manner.
Read you soon.
You may also like reading: The wonderful pleasure of the (slow) process.
I want to openly thank Nathaniel Ileto for being a great friend and for doing the marvelous translation of this blog post from its original version in Spanish. You’re amazing!