Cameron says the Oscars have a bias

Cameron says the Oscars have a bias

When you watch the Oscars, you don't just expect to see celebrities looking fabulous, but you also expect some narrative to remember the ceremony by. 2009's ceremony offered more than you could expect:

James Cameron's visual effects masterpiece Avatar was head-to-head with the low-budget, war drama The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The fact that Cameron happened to be Bigelow's ex-husband added to this dramatic narrative: both films and filmmakers antagonized one another in a battle for an Academy Award. Cameron may have won the divorce but Bigelow won the Oscar. But it didn't end there, Bigelow made history that night as the first and only woman ever to win the Best Director prize.

Although Cameron said he would be ok losing Best Director to Bigelow but that Avatar deserved the Best Picture prize. Despite his opinion, the film lost and Cameron had to settle for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction Oscars apart from $2.7 billion worldwide.

Ever since, Cameron has been busy writing and developing four more Avatar sequels. Recently, he offered his thoughts on why Academy fails to recognize big blockbuster movies:

"There have been a few times throughout the history of the Oscars where a wildly popular film was well-receive, but your typical year the Academy takes the position of: ‘It is our patrician duty to tell the great unwashed what they should be watching,‘ and they don't reward the films that people really want to see - that they're paying money to go see - and they're telling them, ‘Yeah, you think you like that, but what you should be liking is this.‘ As long as the Academy sees that as their duty, don't expect high ratings. Expect a good show, and do that duty, but don't whine about your ratings. Titanic was a very unusual case, I'm not saying it's a better film than films before or after, or it was necessarily a better year in general, but it was a film that made a boatload of money and got a lot of nominations. The next time we see that, we'll see rating go up. It's that simple."

Oscar producers and ABC have been trying to drive more viewers to the show. It began when The Dark Knight missed out on a Best Picture nomination thanks to Harvey Weinstein strong-arming The Reader in the last minute. In 2009, when Avatar was nominated, the Academy expanded its Best Picture category to up to 10 nominees, with the goal of mixing arthouse with blockbuster fare. It worked the first year, but since then the category has only included a couple of commercial hits here and there.

Cameron takes it further and accuses the Academy of having a bias against technologically inclined films:

"There's definitely a bias. The Academy still has a majority of its members that are actors. Look, I love actors, but that's how they think - they're generally skeptical of technology. So when they see a film that's too dependent on visual effects, they say, oh, that's not an acting movie. Well Titanic was a visual effects movie in sheep's clothing, you know? Yes, it had visual effects, but it was about the people and about the story. The visual effects were eclipsed by that. But if you do a movie like Avatar, the effects are right out front, and even though I felt the acting was just as good, and the story we were telling was just as good, they're not going to reward it the same way. That's just a fact of life. I had made a decision way before Titanic that I wasn't going to serve two masters: I was going to put my visual cinema first. even though I've spent an awful lot of time on scripts and on performance, I still love doing big, visual cinema. I doubt I'll even get nominated again, but if I did, I'm probably going to lose to a Woody Allen movie. That's the nature of it. So you don't try to serve two masters."