Full disclosure: I LOVE the Academy Awards. I learn about the movies beforehand, I make my guesses on the winners, and I get together with friends to watch the ceremony, like it's a national holiday. Like baseball fans know the names of all the previous players on the New York Mets, I know the winners of many an Oscar from years passed.
But the Oscars are a little, well, silly. Some actors win because voters think it's "their turn" and some people get nominated because they're a "favorite" for something other than their skill or talent.
It's been said that "Everything Everywhere All At Once" won the big prize because it took risks. It thought outside the box. That's why I was rooting for it too. What about the Writing awards? Did it deserve Best Original Screenplay? That category was pretty tough- "The Banshees of Inisherin" was badass; "Tar" was complex; "Triangle of Sadness" was imaginative; "The Fabelmans" was... well... I think it was only nominated because Spielberg and Kushner wrote it, but whateves.
What about Best Adapted Screenplay? Not sure why "Top Gun" was nominated, though I thoroughly enjoyed it; "All Quiet on the Western Front" could have won it, but it didn't; "Living" was unimaginative; I felt much the way about "Glass Onion" as I did about "Top Gun," and "Women Talking," which Sarah Polley won the prize for, was really... basic. But I'm just one person, and those are just my opinions.
When it comes to the actor awards, however, it's usually a lot more "political."
Did all four of those actors who won the "Best" awards really think they gave the best performances of all the actors in any movie in 2022? I seriously doubt it. But they were the ones who were recognized for their work, and they were the ones who got to stand on stage and thank their mothers. Forever, Brendan Fraser will be announced as "Academy Award Winner, Brendan Fraser," and that's not bad for his resume. But is Brendan Fraser a better actor than Bill Nighy? Or Colin Farrell? Probably not.
A valued performance doesn't cause the award; the award causes the value.
So why the hell do I love the Oscars, if they are merely the tail wagging the dog? Because I love movies. I love writing movies. And I love seeing people receive the highest honor in their career, next to a Lifetime Achievement Award, I suppose. I'm so genuinely happy for them. (Unless, of course, they just slapped someone across the face 20 minutes earlier, in which case, not so much.)
If you ever win an Oscar, it probably won't be because you were the best. But it will mean you were good enough, and that's still pretty great.