It's Really Easy To Mistake Biopics For Oscar-Worthy Films (Even When They Suck)
Open Road Films
It's no coincidence that DiCaprio finally gets to place a little gold statue on his mantle next to pictures of himself thanks to his role in a "based on a true story" film. For the Oscar-seeker, nothing is safer than a biopic. They are to the Academy what a superhero movie is to a producer's cocaine budget. And that's not a coincidence -- both types of movies benefit from telling formulaic stories that half the audience already knows.
Biopics also tend to be about Important Things, which is like a molly-infused blowjob to Academy members, who have a habit of valuing the subject matter of a film over its actual quality. Remember Spotlight? That movie won Best Picture last year, on account of it being about some really important subject matter. It wasn't a bad movie, but there was nothing impressive about the way it was made. It will be one of those Best Picture winners that will go on to future infamy as a question everyone gets wrong on trivia night.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures
Such as these Academy-Award-winning biopics about, uh, that guy, and that guy, and that guy.
Since geniuses don't tend to look like movie stars, biopics also give actors the opportunity to dramatically transform their appearance, which is always guaranteed to make us lose our Academy-Award-voting shit. It's especially effective if an extraterrestrially gorgeous actress can be convinced to ugly herself up, like when Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman deigned to appear to be normal humans in Monster and The Hours, respectively. The male version of this is gender-bending (try not to think too hard about the implications of that), like the time Jared Leto presumably had every transgender actress killed so he could star as one in Dallas Buyers Club. Naturally, we had to give him an Oscar for that.
Which he could barely lift at that point.
Then there's the straight-up guilt factor. If the person the film is about or anyone who ever knew them is still alive, you might feel kinda bad about not voting for their movie. Harvey Weinstein rode that horse harder than a Stark on the Kingsroad while campaigning for The Imitation Game, imploring the Academy to "Honor the man. Honor the movie." In other words, "If you don't vote for us, you're practically as bad as the people who persecuted Alan Turing. You monsters."
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