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Time to get over impossible dream of winning in Oscars

/ 09:24 PM March 07, 2012

For a long time now, Filipino filmmakers have been trying to get a local movie to qualify as one of the finalists in the Oscar or Academy Awards’ best foreign film category.

Each year, a local competition is held by the Film Academy of the Philippines to choose the country’s bet, and the winner is sent off in a flurry of media fanfare –and an expensive campaign to convince the Academy’s thousands of voter-members to favor the Philippine representative. But, despite our movie people’s collective efforts, success has continued to elude us.

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Galling

It’s particularly galling to realize that our best efforts have been focused on simply getting into the finals. What sort of “halfway” goal is that? And, why pursue it at all?

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Ironically, while the local movie industry’s “Oscar dream” continues to be confounded, Filipino filmmakers have been winning honors (not just “getting into the finals”) in other international film competitions. But, the fanfare over those actual triumphs have been much less than our efforts to get within sniffing distance of an Oscar trophy.

Why is an “Oscar finalist” citation prized so much? Well, it’s still the most popular film awards show on TV, although the Golden Globes have been attracting more viewers of late.

In addition, the Oscars have “US movies” written all over them, despite their “international” bent, and you know how much we revere all things American.

Expense

So, we continue to aspire for Oscar glory, even if actually claiming it has remained a pipe dream. But our big, collective moment of truth this year should be the realization that it should remain a dream, because we should stop trying to get into the US Academy Awards’ best foreign film category from here on in.

And why so? Because to compete effectively and successfully in that tilt requires a foreign entry to be viewed by hundreds of potential Academy voters, many of whom have to be given “screeners” or copies of the movie being promoted “for their consideration.”

That takes a lot of expense, effort and connections – and, frankly, “getting into the finals” is not worth it.

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Re-focus

Let’s focus instead on competing successfully, as we have done many times, in other prestigious global competitions, like the leading festivals of Cannes, Venice and Berlin, where the only people we need to impress are the dozen or so members of the board of jurors. No need to mount an attention-calling campaign, hire PR people, send out screeners and hold self-financed screening sessions, in the slim hope of competing favorably against the entries of better-connected countries with bigger movie industries.

Yes, we’d love to get within sniffing distance of a theoretical Oscar trophy, but let’s get over the implausible dream, OK? And, while we’re at it, can’t we also resolve not to get so turned on by anything “international,” and value our viewers here at home, instead?

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TAGS: Awards and Prizes, cinema, Entertainment, films, Movies, Nestor Torre, Oscars, Viewfinder
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