Oscar-bait movies controversial


Photo by Nicole Weaver

The term “Oscar Bait” has been used recently to describe Hollywood movies with the purpose of getting Oscar votes. It has caused a lot of controversy over the purpose of the movies and sparked new ideas for the film industry.

Every year as the Oscars approach, a discussion begins about the most Oscar-worthy performances of the past year. The highly anticipated awards show will announce their nominees on Feb. 8 and crown winners on March 27. Recently, the term “Oscar bait” has been floating around as a description for movies that are created with the intent of acquiring as many Oscar nominations and awards as possible.

At the 2006 Oscars, “Crash” (2006) was awarded Oscars in four different categories. However, it was also given the “Oscar bait” title upon its release due to its status as a “packed” movie. Essentially, a “packed” movie is one in which the cast includes famous actors who have a decent amount of publicity and Hollywood recognition, basically guaranteeing their consideration in the Oscars.

The problem with Oscar bait movies is that creativity is lost. As more producers are concerned with their movies’ appeal to Oscar voters, a certain “formula” develops that becomes banal in effect. In addition, these movies lose their entertainment value when new movies look increasingly similar.

Technically speaking, all movies can be considered Oscar bait; it depends on how you look at them. The main theme seen in movies associated with this term is that they often seem forced in their structure and technicalities. There might be a long monologue from one character to another about perseverance. This is what one will see in movies that follow the formula to being an oscar bait movie.

Of course, there are countless examples of “Oscar bait” movies that are masterpieces such as “Schindler’s List,” but the presence of Oscar bait movies damages the industry to its core. Movies such as “Emma” (2020), “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008), “The Theory of Everything” (2014) and “The Post” (2017) are amongst the several movies that feed into the foolish Oscar bait theme. Ironically enough, most of these movies failed in nominations and awards at the Oscars, which sometimes happens because they have tipped to the edge of insipidness.

These movies are also packed with famous actors and actresses such as Brad Pitt, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Meryl Streep. Ultimately, this term not only brings out the selectiveness of Oscar bait movies determined by how “packed” they are, but also leads to a more lazy filmmaking style.

The fact that movies are being made to satisfy the Oscar voters is a problem. The entertainment value has decreased with movies that are copies of previous Oscar winners, which is just the beginning of a decline.

Already, the term Oscar bait has lived up to its foolish title, so maybe it’s time to create movies that tell a different story instead of relying on generic scripts and formulaic acting.