Opinion: Oscars 2015: A Year of Great Films Gone to Waste


Mike Richards is a senior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Mike Richards

I’m bitter. 

An understatement, but only certain words could express how I felt after watching the annual train-wreck celebrating the previous year of cinema. But I also like my job, so fill the words in for me.

The Academy sure had its struggles this year, namely in “Selma.”

“Grumpy Old Men: Rebirth” starring Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall made an appearance. Neil Patrick Harris stumbled and smirked through every horrible joke given to him. Richard Linklater probably found solace in a scotch aged for as long as his movie, “Boyhood,” did.

Rousing speeches from people given the platform to do so were the only highlight in this televised disaster. JK Simmons from “Whiplash” reminded us to talk to our parents and tell them we love them. Patricia Arquette from “Boyhood” called for equality for women. Graham Moore from “The Imitation Game” spilled his heart out and told us to “stay weird” and “stay different.” 

Common and John Legend gave the most memorable performance and acceptance speech, bringing everyone to tears, especially Chris Pine. And some guy from “Birdman” thanked his dog. Recap done.

Here’s where I have my own dilemma: I loved “Birdman.” I think Inaritu and Lubezki are destined to be a huge power duo of filmmaking. But Boyhood was undoubtedly robbed.

For me, “Boyhood” brought back memories I had long forgotten. Things I’ve felt that I never thought I would or wanted to feel ever again. I felt as though I related to Ellar Coltrane’s character through pretty much the entire movie.

But this isn’t just a movie. This isn’t Tom Bergeron’s personal collection of overdubbed home videos.

Though “Birdman” was visually stimulating and gave “superheroes” recognition, although calling this a nod to a superhero movie is like The Academy making Neil Patrick Harris talk to David Oyelowo in the crowd to say they acknowledge Selma. 

Even though “Boyhood” didn’t walk away with an award for Richard Linklater in any of the major categories that does not mean it was not a brilliant movie. It stood alone, as it’s own beast of a film. Esquire Magazine called Boyhood “the Pulp Fiction of the 2015 Oscars.” But anyone you ask will tell you Pulp Fiction is a marvel of a film.

These awards ceremonies are a showcase to the best work, and to me, winning doesn’t mean you were the best. A few old white guys just said they liked you a bit more than the others. Everyone nominated deserved to be there, save for a few that didn’t make the cut. I’m still looking to high five Jake Gyllenhaal for “Nightcrawler.” 

Snubs aside, most of these awards could have gone to anyone in the categories, which is tough to say some years. Almost every major film there took at least one award home. 

Just because some people walked away with some cash and a gift bag instead of someone else, or a movie grossed more than another, doesn’t make the film any better than another. 

Opinions of the arts are subjective, and it’s up to us to give back to the art world what they gave us. Show them why you love them, and talk about it. 

And call your mom and tell her you love her. 

Contact Mike Richards at [email protected].