Had my attention called to a campaign underway by a group of feminist filmmakers under the banner of Guerilla Girls who are putting up billboards in Hollywood for Oscar season, complaining that women and minorities are vastly underrepresented in The Biz, and get neither the opportunities nor Oscar acclaim that white males do. Were they to pop up out of their gopher hole for long enough they'd notice this inequality is rife the world over. But what do you hope to accomplish with a billboard? I'm a white guy, and no one's offered me my big time studio development deal yet, let alone given me an Oscar nod. The world is unfair, and all you can do is work your ass off to achieve your goals and dreams. And if the movers and shakers don't give you the recognition you feel you deserve, maybe you've got the wrong priorities. Don't make films to win awards. Make films to make films. If awards come your way, be gracious and grateful. But if you're putting your hunger for acclaim over your passion for your work as a be-all and end-all, then you're just in it for your ego and that will show to everyone you meet and work with.
In any event, it would seem the post-Oscar career trajectories of such ladies as Halle Berry, Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei (I had to look her up to remember her name), and (after Aeon Flux) quite possibly Charlize Theron should be depressing enough to steer many smart women away from an Oscar victory as a desirable goal. And besides, Oscars aren't necessarily about who's the best of their year, as anyone who's squirmed through Forrest Gump can attest. It's about who's got the most aggressive and effective campaign to buy all the Oscars they want, a fact proved time and again by Los Bros Weinstein. Remember how ol' Harvey stole Steven Spielberg's Best Picture Oscar right out from under his nose in 1998, to the reverberating whap! of jaws hitting floors nationwide in disbelief? But to this day, people still speak in reverential tones about the brilliant Saving Private Ryan. Does anybody talk about Shakespeare in Love anymore, let alone remember it?
As a good liberal, I'm all for folks banding together to fight the power when it comes to disparity and inequality. But I think the most sensible attitude for any filmmaker to have towards the Oscars would be that of the European director (whose name, ironically, escapes me, though I think it was Godard) who once famously said, "Hollywood? Oh, yes. That's where they give Charlton Heston awards for acting."
Not that I'd reject one if they gave one to me someday. But you know...it's about priorities.
Stop pissing away money on billboards, Guerilla Girls, and spend it on your films instead!