ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, with the 2017 now less than two weeks away, you might imagine that pretty much everyone in is firmly preoccupied with who'll win the biggest of cinematic gongs (or at the very least what the famous folk'll be wearing on the red carpet during the lead-up to the event). Tinseltown, after all, has long been famed for both its obsession with awards and its ability to pretend that said awards matter more than anything else, short of box office success.

For some of the film industry's most interesting creatives, though, the impending arrival of the is no more relevant to their day-to-day lives than it is to the rest of us. What's more, according to one of the most intriguing proponents of that particular view, , there's a whole lot more to making valuable movies than clamoring for industry accolades. Y'see:

Jena Malone Isn't A Fan Of Hollywood Oscar-Bait (And Has A Point)

'Nocturnal Animals' [Credit: Focus Features]
'Nocturnal Animals' [Credit: Focus Features]

Speaking to Cosmopolitan recently, Malone offered up a striking and eloquent take-down of some of Hollywood's more peculiar obsessions, but reserved her most engagingly biting words for the industry's obsession with "Uncle Oscar." As she put it, when asked whether she was disappointed that two acclaimed independent films she starred in this year — and — didn't receive more attention come awards season:

"No, because I know the game of it. I know if those directors really wanted to make films that were going to garner social acclaim, they would have. And I know that if they wanted those films to succeed in the awards market, they would have gone and found an investor to put money into promoting them and basically play the awards market dance, like you have to. And in a way, I kind of appreciate [that they didn’t], because I know they’re the kind of filmmakers that shy away from that. I always like it when a film that I think is amazing doesn’t end up getting recognition. Because an awards show isn’t about merit. I mean, it is, but it’s merit of such a small pool of thinking, so it’s very hard to feel good about that. So I kind of like it. The filmmaker was just like, 'Fuck it, I’m not going to spend three months of my life shaking a million hands and doing all this promotion just so I can dress up for a night and get an award that’s going to mean nothing to me tomorrow.' Because the film represents something."

Which, aside from being a pretty darned excellent assessment of the fundamental flaws lurking within Hollywood's awards season, is also a valuable argument in favor of art being valued for its own sake, as opposed to by how other judge it.

Asked whether she sees herself as a Hollywood outsider, though, Malone was quick to reject any simplification of her approach. Instead, she noted that:

"I don’t see myself on those terms, exactly. But I think what I consider fulfillment is not what most people in Hollywood see as fulfillment. What motivates me might be different. There are a lot of notches in my belt I don’t need to cut, and a lot of people are very notch hungry. I’m pretty happy in the life that I’ve created, and the older I get, it’s getting harder and harder to pull myself away from that life... For me, it’s enough to play for a couple days with a really great director, take small parts, and have my freedom. But for a lot of people that’s not enough. That’s not leading roles. That’s not pursuing awards material. That’s not the cover of a magazine. That’s not you becoming a director and you becoming a writer. It’s never enough. There’s a really interesting quote that’s like, 'Reaching success is the last easy thing that you’ll do,' because everything after that is work maintaining success. I guess that’s what I’m talking about with notches. A lot of people invest a lot of their time and energy in the maintaining of success. Whereas I’ve been extremely lucky to flirt with it and get the fuck out — and come back. Because I tend to work with directors that hire me almost out of complete isolation. I’ve left Hollywood three times already. I’m always coming back. I wonder when I will finally make the break."

If that break comes, though — and considering Malone's evidently happy family life, blended with a burgeoning musical career, it's not impossible to imagine — it's difficult not to imagine it being a substantial loss for the film industry as a whole. After all, whether she considers herself to be an outsider or not, Malone is a rare dissenting voice in an industry that could use a whole lot more of them. Something — and someone — to think about, perhaps, while we soak in the glamor of the Academy Awards come February 26th.

What do you think, though? Do you agree with Malone when it comes to awards, and Hollywood's idea of fulfillment? Let us know below!

(Sources: Cosmopolitan)


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