It pains me to say this, but there is a growing rift between us. I love movies, and I have been a staunch defender of you and your eccentric ways. I publicly support your broadcasts and your sometimes brilliant, sometimes barely tolerable efforts to draw in viewers via opulence and voyeurism. I have even thrown parties in your honor.
This year, however, you have excluded me in such a brazenly ignorant fashion that I must finally speak my heart and the first question I must ask is this: No Alan Rickman? NO Alan Rickman? Are you freaking kidding me?! Okay, you may see the Harry Potter films as somewhat beneath you (and we’ll get to that in a minute), but this is a man who went far above playing a role to perfection. He actively informed the source material. J.K. Rowling shaped the way she herself, the creator and original voice of a whole unseen world, saw and wrote Severus Snape based on the dimension Alan Rickman gave him. How can that not be worthy of even the tiniest bone you could throw?
As egregious as this is, I believe it is symptomatic of a greater problem: You think you care about me, and you want me to believe it too, but deep down we both know it’s just an illusion. Oh sure, your public persona is very affectionate towards me. Every year you make a big display of trying to appeal to me through your choice of hosts and directors, your red carpet interviews, and your behind-the-scenes specials. But the truth is that you only want me for my money.
That is the worst part, really. You make millions and millions of dollars off of me. You endlessly analyze and lament how much I’m spending and on what movies every week, and you compare it to years past, seeing what is trending well with me and trying to get me to spend more. In fact, your entire industry depends on me, yet when it comes to the self-proclaimed highest honor that you can bestow, you not only disregard my input; you actively use financial success as a pall over any material’s artistic value. On top of that, the films you do applaud are those to which I have little if any access to see for myself.
Not everything you do is wrong of course. You finally got around to nominating Gary Oldman, although most of his performances and especially his brilliant turn as Beethoven in Immortal Beloved were no less deserving. You expanded the category of Best Picture to be more inclusive of voting numbers – allowing that sometimes it seems most likely as a way of kissing up to your favorite directors. And nominating Viola Davis and Rooney Mara this year almost makes up for your irresistible compulsion to list Meryl Streep (I swear, the woman could appear as herself in a documentary and you’d find a way to qualify it).
You may argue that you are the expert and you can assert your freedom as such to recognize or not any films and actors that you well choose. I agree! But if that is to be your stance, please stop pretending to care what I think. Stop wondering why each year’s broadcast viewership is down; in fact, stop broadcasting it at all. Just rent out the Kodak theater for yourselves and spend every February worshiping each other in private and leave us alone to watch what we choose – probably a comedy or a popcorn flick, or anything with Alan Rickman in it.