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And the winner is......

Its awards season again – the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Baftas, the Oscars – the list goes on and on. But how often does an award go to the most deserving film or artist?

Looking back over the last few decades of best film winners at the Oscars there have been some well-deserved wins, for example: Spotlight, The Hurt Locker, or going a little further back - Schindler’s List. Though just as often the award goes to a film that a few years later is almost forgotten. When was the last time you watched Argo, A Beautiful Mind or Chicago?

In 1982 Sir Richard Attenborough - after winning best picture for Ghandi - remarked to Steven Spielberg that the award should have gone to Spielberg’s own film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Ever the wise gentleman, the years have proved Attenborough correct, since it is E.T. and not Ghandi that is still beloved by both audiences and critics alike.

What influences the academy’s choices year on year? Oscar does have a habit of awarding those films that are considered ‘worthy’ in terms of their subject matter, or serious works of drama.

More’s-the-pity that comedy and comedic performances are very rarely rewarded; despite being a comic genius, Robin Williams won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his straight role in Good Will Hunting.

Genre films tend to get overlooked too. The influence of Star Wars over the years cannot be underestimated and yet only won Oscars for technical accomplishments and (deservedly) its score. Science fiction, superhero and fantasy films may be a mixed bag in terms of their quality – like any kind of film – but the revenue they produce is what keeps the mainstream film industry afloat.

At the end of the day, whether you think the most deserving folk take home the gold statues is down to personal opinion. The most controversial wins – and indeed the most predictable wins – will always ruffle some feathers and make for great conversation, which is never a bad thing.

By Tom Brookes

From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 30th January 2018.

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