I thought about writing two posts. I thought about writing one post about how dumb it is that Lego Movie and David Oyelowo didn’t get the Oscar nominations they deserved, and another about how dumb it is that Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds will never be voted into the Hall of Fame. I was going to detail how these two systems are flawed and how they should be fixed. I was going to talk about how the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is out of touch with the modern game, how it’s absurd to limit voters to ten players, how the treatment of cheating is inconsistent, and how releasing the ballots to the public might fix a lot of these issues. I was going to talk about how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (“The Academy”) is out of touch with the general viewing audience, how absurd it is to limit the Best Animated Feature category to voters who are animators, how the treatment of historical accuracy is inconsistent, and how releasing the ballots to the public might fix a lot of these issues. Instead, I’m going to kill two dead birds with one stone.
The Oscars are a lot like the Baseball Hall of Fame: people give them a lot more credit than they deserve. Winning an Academy Award at the Oscars and being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown are two accomplishments that are universally seen as career-defining moments. But they shouldn’t be.
When people refer to Jack Nicholson as “three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson,” they’re implying that the Oscars are the only things that validate his career. When Hank Aaron is referred to as “Hall of Famer Hank Aaron,” it’s as if his 755 home runs would mean nothing if not for his Cooperstown induction. Leonardo DiCaprio might go down as the best actor never to win an Oscar, just like Pete Rose is thought of as the best hitter not in the Hall of Fame. That humiliation has pushed Rose to several misinformed publicity campaigns, and DiCaprio always seems to be going after that one role that’ll win him his Oscar.
That’s not fair to them. It’s not fair that their legacies should be defined by these broken systems. And, yes, they’re broken. Roger Clemens is, by pretty much any legitimate statistical measure (I’m a big fan of JAWS), one of the three best pitchers ever, and yet the BBWAA has decided that since he might have been using performance-enhancing drugs (OK, he was almost certainly using performance-enhancing drugs) he doesn’t deserve the honor of being inducted. Lego Movie is, by pretty much any legitimate statistical measure (I’m a big fan of Rotten Tomatoes), one of the three best animated movies of 2014, and yet the The Academy has decided that since it was made by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the guys behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and the new 21 Jump Street) and not one of the usual studios, it doesn’t deserve the honor of being nominated.
So let’s stop calling it an honor, shall we? Let’s remember that the Oscars and the Hall of Fame are just a couple of stupid awards voted on by a bunch of people whose opinions I don’t care about and neither should you. Stop treating these awards like they’re special. They’re not.