gARTh's Movie Awards: A Brief History...

I recently went back through and filled in some holes, gaps and years-off in my Movie Awards lists. At first it was just for my own overly-attentive and geeky organization purposes, but then it evolved so that I might share the results of all the years I've been keeping up with it.

The history of my desire to do an end-of-year "Awards" list came from my disdain for the major film awards shows and their lack of consistency, their politiking, and the fact that they leave off great films that were either unprofitable (not necessarily a telling sign of a film's quality) or that simply came out too early in a year to be remembered by the time the lists began to be tallied (which is ridiculous in the digital age, by the way... I mean, if I can look online to see what films came out in the first quarter of a year, why can't The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or The Hollywood Foreign Press? Do these people not own a computer?).

Anyway, so in 1999 I'd had enough, and while sitting in my Trinkle Hall dorm room at Radford University I created a list of nominees that reflected my and my friends' personal tastes, and catered to underdog films and performances usually deemed unworthy of any artistic recognition. In my experience, the films that I love are generally not the ones that win Best Picture (and I don't think I'm alone on this), so why not create something that would place a film like "The Matrix" as an equal to a film like "The Cider House Rules," instead of relegating such a film to just Visual Effects and Sound Mixing awards. Anyway, I ran off copies and handed 'em out to my friends and we all voted and it was just a bit of fun. I remember thinking then that the next time I'd put more effort into it to create a more thorough and comprehensive list. And that I did, for the next few years anyway.

By that time I was running my movie-related website Salty Cracker Pictures (R.I.P.), and so from 2000-2003 the Salty Cracker Movie Awards were posted on that site. I'd laid out a full range of categories that took their cues from a multitude or places, from the Oscars to MTV's Movie Awards (I've always thought the Best Villain award was a cool idea). As the website became harder to keep up with, so did I slack on keeping up with the awards. I kept up with movies, of course, just not the end-of-year accolades I'd generally give out.

In 2008, amidst the popularity of Myspace, I began the 'voting' thing. It made sense that with the advent of social networking I didn't have to narrow down these films on my own anymore, I could invite other opinions into the mix, thus making my Awards list something more official, more real. And that's what I've been doing ever since.

So I now present to you the winners of the years 2000-2010. From 2008 forward they were voted on (except for categories that were added later than the year in question), and all the years prior were tallied up by me (I put a lot of work into these, pondering and deciding and such, so if you don't like the results: eat me).

For this list, I also added a new category, The Most Underrated Film category, which is essentially films that received good reviews and were well-liked by audiences, but bombed at the box office or barely got a limited theatrical release. Films that, in short, should have been bigger and more recognized than they were.

There are a few Winners on these lists that I know aren't going to go over well with those of you that now have the Oscar winners burned into your memories, but I tried to do what I always do, which is balance out the awards a bit. I don't choose films or performances based on popularity. In fact, there are plenty of films I give a lot of credit to that are widely viewed as being 'garbage.' I have a personal hatred for the more recent 'jumping on the "hate this movie" bandwagon' disease that infects online movie buffs that read too many reviews written by morons that pretend to be experts, and I can only hope that one day people will regain their freedom to judge a movie on their own without all of these outside opinions clouding their vision. (I mean, if you go to see a movie on opening night and you've been sitting around all day reading reviews about the film that attack it and point out flaws and so on, what are you going to be paying attention to when you watch the film? You sure as hell aren't going in with an open mind, that's for sure. And you can try to convince yourself that these outside opinions don't influence your own at all, but you'd be lying). Anyway, to get back on point... I try to include movies that I feel are unfairly viewed as inferior films right next to the ones that are critically acclaimed.

That's it. I'll be posting up one a day, or something like that, so check back regularly so you can yell at me because I didn't pick your favorites. (I actually feel that I corrected some grievous errors made by the Oscars over the years, but maybe that's just me).

- gARTh -

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