The Best Picture is rarely the best picture, and that’s OK.

“The Oscars never really pick the best movie.”

This is true. But I prefer to think of the Oscars not as the final word on quality but as a time capsule, a perfectly preserved snapshot of a year in Hollywood. The winners, losers, and snubs reveal what was on the minds of voters at that specific time.

Compare it, if you like, to the Super Bowl. Are the Seahawks and Patriots truly the best two teams in football this year? Or did a specific string of events lead the two to win the right games?

So, sure, Citizen Kane didn’t win. But certain things aligned to get it nominated, and certain other things aligned to ensure it (and eight other films) didn’t win the top prize.

Last year, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, the Giants won the World Series, Germany won the World Cup, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories won the Grammy for Album of the Year, and 12 Years a Slave beat Gravity for Best Picture at the Oscars. But in each of those cases, the story is much more interesting than that. They’re snapshots. And those snapshots reveal the big picture, if you’re willing to look more closely.


I also wrote about this at greater length a few years back. Apologies for the redundancy.


copyright 2015 David Cornelius all rights reserved

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