The award season is in full swing, the Golden Globe Awards have been and gone, the BAFTAS are just around the corner, the Oscar nominations are in. Every year, for a few weeks I turn into a dreamy fashionista as I lust after couture and walk down sparkly carpets with my very own fantasy prince in a flawless black tux. I indulge in glamorous magazine covers and follow elaborate news coverage on sparkling stars.

Key to appreciating the full allure of the prestigious Academy Awards is to avoid the films. The designers, from Ellie Saab to Valentino, choreograph impeccable performances – less so the film industry. The nominees are money steered and the actors contained within an ideology that suffocates shifts in cultural, social, or political paradigms.

This year, the frontrunners are Gravity (Cuarón, 2013) and American Hustle (Russel, 2013) with 10 nominations each including best picture, best lead and supporting actress, best lead and supporting actor and best director. It might be reasonable then to assume that they are flawless pictures – an excellent source of entertainment, an exemplary piece of art, a challenging stepping-stone in cinematic history.

…it may be reasonable then to assume that they are flawless pictures…

Gravity deserves an award for its outstanding visual effects and perhaps editing. Beyond that, there is little to say about the pre-feminist Sandra Bullock who slurs away her lines in tears and fear. I am a woman of the 21st century. I have no need to watch female protagonists deteriorate into emotional wrecks on screen as they succumb to their heroic patriarch. Amy Adam, while certainly the sexiest, braless redhead of the year, stands as a prime example of a wonderful actress confined to the male ideology of Western society. Besides that, I didn’t even finish American Hustle. I stopped 15 minutes before the end. Out of pure boredom.

Next to the two nomination-sweeping disappointments of the year, you have 12 Years A Slave (McQueen, 2013), which is said to be one of the best movies ever made. I prefer entertainment that doesn’t involve torturing on screen for torturous 134 minutes. As to endless running times that require a military trained viewing stamina, The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorsese, 2013) is a particularly special case. 90 minutes in, after watching an army of white pills, lines, and breasts flash across the screen (with a healthy dose of swearing), I could have been on drugs myself. Luckily (or not), there followed another 90 minutes that completely sobered me up again, at the end of which I could only laugh bitterly at the false moral in Hollywood’s golden cameras.

…an army of white pills, lines and breasts…

Captain Phillips (Greengrass, 2013) struck close to home, having lived in Nairobi for five years. The acting was brilliant, certain aspects of the camera work flawlessly nerve-wrecking. Nevertheless, I could not help but smirk at the white against black conflict that seems legitimate only in its racial segregation because of the distance it has to American soil.

I have not yet watched Dallas Buyers Club (Vallée) and Her (Jonze, 2013), which look interesting enough. Unfortunately, after the other disappointments, I am less inclined to do so now. Philomena (Frears, 2013) was quaint but equally problematic in regard to its female figure. Nebraska (Payne, 2013) was perhaps the most interesting in its baby steps towards artistic filmmaking.

…quaint but equally problematic in regard to its female figure…

Simply put, the Oscars are not a sufficient representation of cultural achievement within Hollywood. And Hollywood is not a sufficient representation of cultural developments within the US, not to mention the world. It is disappointing to realize that this is one of the most publicized and broadcasted artistic events of the year. Anyway. At least I’ve still got the gowns. I get to watch the Christian Dior glide down the carpet and dream of its intricate folds and delicious colors. Now that I could write a love story for.

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