Art is all about telling stories and conveying a message. Whatever medium you consider, there is a story to be told.
Which is why I find it to be a very problematic issue when films are “judged” so heavily on story. If every art has a story to tell, doesn’t that mean we should be judging films based on the way they were able to use their medium to their advantage? What makes the story portrayed on the screen different than if you were to read it in a book? For instance, the way a certain shot was able to evoke a particular thought or emotion. The way a cut or an edit was able to suggest a certain idea and foreshadow something that couldn’t be said otherwise…
Now I’m not suggesting that you should disregard story – it’s still an essential and large part of what makes a film bad, good or great. Similarly, other features such as art direction and score are equally as important. Just because it doesn’t have anything to do directly with the camera’s movement throughout its 24 frames per second, does not mean it doesn’t have an impact.
For me and many other filmmakers and film lovers, this is what makes film the most beautiful. It takes all the arts and combines them. A film needs the artist’s vision, the photographer’s eye, the musician’s ear and the author’s pen.
This is a skepticism I often echo to myself regarding the Academy’s choices for Best Picture every year: “Are they picking this film because of story content or because they thoroughly believe it was the best use of film as a medium?”
With that being said, every year I watch all the Best Picture nominees in preparation for Sunday night. However, this year, due to the number of films nominated and life just getting in the way, I was not able to do it in time. I apologize. I have let everyone down.
Nevertheless, I only have a couple left and those rankings should be out soon. I urge everyone to look at movies a bit differently, rewatch some of your favorites and see what you really love about it.