Lost Among Europeans

Awards and statistics

I’m glad The Hurt Locker won this year’s Oscar. It’s a better film than the usual winner.

I have a problem, though, with the whole idea of a vote certifying film quality. It sends a message I don’t like, that there is a proper taste, and a proper knowledge. Being a film buff, and one who vocalizes his tastes clearly, I find that people are often intimidated by my opinions. They’ll say they liked a film, but “don’t know as much as I do”. Why should anyone accept any judgement expressed by someone with more film viewings under their belt?

The voting process, and the nomination process, are nothing more than statistical averaging. If you reformulate “film A won the award over film B” as “60% of voters preferred film A over film B”, winning seems less impressive. If you figure that “voters” may or may not be a proper sample of “general viewers”, it is less impressive still. If “voters” means “industry insiders”, wonder how many films this industry makes that you like. What do industry insiders know about your tastes, then?

Awards and critical acclaim should be taken lightly. As lightly, or probably more lightly, than Amazon.com recommendations based on past purchases. This is extensive to everything that has subjective value. Why accept that this particular wine is good? Or this CD? Or this book? If you don’t like them, who has the authority to say you’re wrong?

Back to The Hurt Locker, I did enjoy it, and I do recommend it. But looking back at a full year of DVDs, my favorites have been, by far, Star Trek and The King of Kong. Personal choices, as are all choices.

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