I had this idea a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get to it. Please forgive the untimeliness of this post in our 24 second news cycle world…
Recently, the world ended when The Arcade Fire (or is the band called The Suburbs?) won a Grammy over several more popular, but less good artists. The world ended because the Grammys have long been a hackneyed awards show that caters to people who listen to top 40 radio and think popular and good are the same thing. The results are generally comical if you pay any attention to music, but I’m not going to go into that right now. Instead, I thought it might be more fun to look at what would happen if other types of media were subjected to the same “rigorous” selection process the Grammys normally utilize.
The Award: Best Picture
The Criteria: Nominees are the five highest grossing movies of the previous year. The voters will be looking for broad appeal (men and women have to be interested). Also, we want teenagers tuning in, so nothing too old and stodgy and nothing too childish.
1. Toy Story 3
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. Iron Man 2
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Analysis: Toy Story was nominated as it was, but I don’t think it’s the winner here. It is, at least ostensibly, a children’s movie and thus isn’t cool enough to win best picture. Alice in Wonderland is for those weird emo kids or something, so it can’t win. Iron Man 2 has no appeal to the ladies and Twilight has nothing for the boys, so congratulations Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you are the best picture of 2010.
2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
3. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Analysis: This is pretty similar to 2010. A kid’s movie (nope). Something for the boys and the ladies (nope and nope again) and a Harry Potter movie, but this time, Harry has some competition. He is trumped by the SUPER AWESOME (pay no attention to the terrible writing/story) Avatar which, because its special effects are out of this world, is clearly the best picture of 2009.
Other Years in Brief: 2008: 1. The Dark Knight, 2. Iron Man, 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 4. Hancock, 5. Wall-E. The Winner: It’s all about the nocturnal flying rodent. Some people misguidedly though this should have won the real award.
2007: 1. Spider-Man 3, 2. Shrek the Third, 3. Transformers, 4. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, 5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The Winner: Have to go with Harry again. His broad appeal is enough to overcome the mess that was Spider-Man 3.
2006: 1. Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, 2. Night at the Museum, 3. Cars, 4. X-Men: The Last Stand, 5. The Da Vinci Code. The Winner: This is a very tight, very respectable field. Lots of broad appeal here and the vote is going to be pretty split. When all else fails, go with what’s most popular. Congratulations buccaneers.
The Award: The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Criteria: The five best selling books of the year are up for the award. Voters care less about broad appeal (all real men know it’s uncool to read) than about making sure the book isn’t too hoity-toity.Also, no pictures or little kid’s stuff. This is a serious literary award, after all.
2010 (I had trouble finding a definitive best seller list, this is the best I could come up with)
1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
3. Dead in the Family by Charlene Harris
4. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
5. The Help by Cathryn Stockett
Analysis: This one is easy. It’s all about Larsson. He’s all dark and creepy or something. And people get to think they’re reading high literature without actually be challenged.
Okay, okay. Stop, I can’t go on. Comprehensive best seller lists are hard to find and I just saw one claiming Stephanie Meyer had the top 4 spots in 2009 and 2008. Before that, it’s all Harry Potter. I am so glad everything isn’t run like the Grammys.