Brad Renfro and the Academy Awards

This year's Oscars stood out from many of the past ceremonies, mainly because, of the films granted nominations, few were blockbusters. In fact, most of the films honoured did not do exceptionally well in the box office nor were even seen by the general movie-going public before they were given post-nominated Oscar limelight. Despite continuing the very annoying trend of singling out around a dozen films and excluding the other thousand of releases from the last year, those acknowledged dozen or so films from 2007 were in fact, for the most part, excellent and engaging works of art. This is not to say that shit-flicks were excluded (consider Norbit, Enchanted [3 nominations out of 5 original songs].

All that could and should be said about the Oscars has already been expounded upon by countless others. What I wish to singularly point out is a travesty exceeding the boundaries of aestheticism and entering the realm of ethics; namely, the exclusion of Brad Renfro from the already-awkward Obiturary segment of the Oscars. If you don't already know, both Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro died within days of each other. Ledger died from what was probably an accidental, and not suicidal, combination of prescription drugs for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Renfro, on the other hand, died from an obviously intentional mixture of heroin and morphine.

In defense, the spokesperson for the Academy Awards claimed that "Unfortunately we cannot include everyone...Our goal is to honor individuals who worked in the many professions and trades of the motion picture industry, not just actors."

I agree, of course one cannot include everyone. But the Academy Awards is obviously going to include those of a more tragic, premature death like Ledger. Renfro did more unconventional films, lacked Ledger's handsome prestige, and abused illegal drugs. I believe that the cause of his death - recreational drug use - is the reason for his exclusion from the Academy Awards' obiturary. One could write a volume on the sociological reasons and implications of this exclusion.

I leave it open as to why Renfro "deserved" acknowledgement. What the fuck do I know?


Scout said...

The idea that the montage is some sacred thing unto itself and the deaths of people too close to the night means they can't be included. Roy Scheider and Kon Ichikawa were both omitted and they had more talent that Heath Ledger could have ever dreamed of.

shelley said...

I would imagine that Ledger's mainstream popularity is the reason he was acknowledged over myriad other obituary contestants. However, I am sure that drug abuse is stigmatised by those who organised the ceremony.