The Oscars and the Act of Making Art Competitive


With the Oscars on March 12th, the Awards season has come to an end. Three months of secret anonymous academies deeming what pieces of art were and were not beacons of quality, and in the end The Daniel’s Everything Everywhere All At Once was the one taking the stage. In all this golden commotion, I had a question: What good is making art competitive?

To answer that question, it’s best to look at our own experiences. For me, I have to look at my last two One Act play competitions. In the first two competitions we placed 3rd and 4th, the award for those placements? Nothing. The first thought that crept into my head both times was “What a waste of time!” It felt like everything we worked on the past 2 months meant nothing in the end, which was purely irrational. While a trip to state or a medal would have been nice, that would have just been the cherry on top. It’s the hard work and camaraderie that has stuck with me. That feeling of disappointment is washed away by the feeling that I put my love and effort into something I really wanted to be proud of. It takes way too much mental effort to push yourself to do bigger and better things with no goal to reach at the end, so that personal growth wouldn’t have been possible without the allure of something shiny.

So what about awards on a larger scale, like the Oscars? Is a 3 and a half hour show full of glitz, glamour and way too many commercials all about love and effort? No, not really. Leading up to the show, each film gives a huge budget to their Oscar campaign, a marketing extravaganza for the purpose of securing a huge boost in notoriety and giving the film a second time to shine in the spotlight. Just like the movie business itself, profit is the end all be all, but I also feel the Oscars and other awards push back, at least attempts to, on the “Profit over quality” idea. If it weren’t for the same allure our one act has of potentially earning an award, what would encourage us to make something beyond its monetary and material value?

In all honesty, I didn’t care much for Everything Everywhere All At Once; it just wasn’t my kind of movie. But seeing hard working and passionate people from the cast and crew get awarded for a truly unique film that is nothing like the stereotypical Best Picture winner. That, at least to me, is good enough proof that as long as we keep some sort of competition, love and effort will prevail, win or lose.