Will It Be Indie Obsession Or Oscar Love?

We’ve spent months talking about the Oscars.

We predicted this weekend’s winners by listening to candy-counter loud mouths. We lamented how the freebie award luncheons were coming to an end as voting began. We wondered if Parasite could win the whole thing. We were honest in our thinking that The Irishman wouldn’t win a damn thing and who would be fired because of it. We debated if Jojo Rabbit had enough Nazi in it to win the Oscar gold. We even predicted the snubs that would be the talk of the town, next year.

Bottom line? We’ve talked about the Oscars ad nauseam.

Those were the stories. But now that we’re facing the Ultimate Smackdown Thunderdome Awards Weekend, we felt it would be worth our while to talk about how this weekend is going to play out.

Indie Spirit Awards vs. The Academy Awards

If you’re a fan of film, you for sure know what the Indie Spirit Awards are. They’re the awards show hosted in a Santa Monica airplane hangar, populated by all the indie distributors, talent and journalists who follow that sort of thing. They’re not hosted by the Billy Crystals or the Chris Rocks, but rather the Audrey Plazas and the Bill Murrays (which is the case this year). Typically, the Indie Spirits award films that the Oscars don’t and vice versa, except for some of those anomaly years like when Moonlight cleaned up all over the place.

This weekend won’t be such an anomaly.

The films that were snubbed at the Oscars are going to clean up this Saturday at the Indie Spirits. Those films include movies like Uncut Gems, Booksmart, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Marriage Story, The Lighthouse, Honey Boy, Midsommar, Clemency, Luce and Parasite.

The films that weren’t allowed to be included in the Indie Spirit Awards, because of their massive budgets and/or releases, but which will clean up this Sunday at the Academy Awards include: 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joker, Jojo Rabbit, Judy and Parasite.

The only true anomaly is that Parasite, the well-deserved South Korean entry for Best International Film is going to pull more awards than any film across both voting bodies.

But we already told you that.

Talk to the truly movie obsessed, and they’ll tell you that it’s a travesty that Indie Spirit nominations don’t closely match Oscar nominations. That if the smaller, Independent films can’t get recognized at the big boy’s table, then there’s something definitely wrong with the system at hand. Some will take the other side, as the Master Blaster of the Thunderdome equation, and bash your head in with the opinion that Oscars are for movies that generate big releases, big money and include big stars, and there’s a time and place for those movies separate altogether from the tiny, itty-bitty sub-$10 million dollar budgeted indie flicks.

In the not-so-immortal words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?”

Does it really matter where the films land? Does it really matter which voting body gives it recognition? In fact, many people support the reduction of awards shows, that this time of the year is so overblown and bloated with awards shows and events, that isn’t it time we just limit them for good? Shouldn’t people just find movies on their own instead of being force fed award messaging from every nominee and winner across the board?

No. Because people are stupid and lazy and they can’t navigate a user interface to save their life.

So the real question going into this weekend isn’t why one movie wasn’t recognized by one voting body, or why the overall nominations are so inconsistent across two major awards shows. The real question is, why people can’t just be happy and embrace the love in the Cinematic Thunderdome? Recognition of the smaller films only allows for more of those films to get made, which means more new voices and more unique projects find their way to the top. The opportunity for those films to rise up into the Oscar season (like Parasite and Uncut Gems) only serves as a continual “feeder system” or “minor league baseball” training camp for up and coming voices, and give them the opportunity to open the door to bigger and better things.

So going into this weekend, we can only hope that a wide array of very different films all become the subject of someone’s filmic obsession. That a slate of films all have their chance at the Oscar Gold. Because the more love spread across more films means that the diversity in projects, voices and stories…will keep coming as the years go by.

At least that’s the hope.

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