I get into a frustrating argument every year around Oscar season, with a dear friend of mine who loves to irritate me by pointing out the hypocrisy of the cinephile set. How, he asks, can you claim that the Oscars don’t matter one year, then turn around and say that a certain film winning is a huge deal the next? How do you reconcile the narrative that the Oscars are pointless exercises in industry self-congratulation with the narrative that they’re the most important date on the film calendar? You see both takes every awards season – often coming from the same person at different points in the cycle. What hypocrites! But the truth is, you can have it both ways, because saying the Oscars “matter” can mean a lot of different things. As a measure of the quality of art, the Oscars definitively do not matter. Art is subjective, and trying to label something as ”the best” in a field is inherently doomed to failure. The Oscars have to be viewed as what they are, which is a poll of a few thousand Hollywood professionals as to what (or who) they liked in a particular year. Some of them know what they’re talking about. Some of them don̵...