I personally don’t think Benedict will win Best Actor and I doubt the film will pick anything up it’s nominated for either. Apparently this is enough to get me labelled as a bad fan in some quarters but I refuse to accept that.
Because saying something or someone won’t win an award DOES NOT mean the speaker doesn’t think the win would be deserved! Hell, if the Oscars were down to me both Benedict and the The Imitation Game would win every category they were eligible for.
However, it isn’t down to me. It’s down to the members of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS – the professional honorary organization which runs the ceremony), of whom those eligible to vote number around 6,000. These voters are from a mix of disciplines within the film industry (with the main group being actors) and the majority of them, according to the demographics I’ve seen, are white, male and over fifty. This says to me that, no matter how amazing Benedict was as Alan Turing, no matter how moving the script, how important the story, that the majority of the voters are neither the target audience for the film and nor are they likely to want to give the role or story any more prominence or exposure than it being nominated has garnered it. Especially not when much safer, more comfortable, alternatives are available – yes, Theory of Everything, I’m looking at you in your nice hetero-normative little bubble. I might be a little more optimistic about the Oscar chances for Benedict and The Imitation Game if they’d picked up awards at the SAGS or the BAFTAs, but they haven’t.
That the film, and Benedict’s performance, has been recognised as excellent is not in question. If the script and performances hadn’t been stellar then I doubt it would have been nominated at all, given its subject matter. Or possibly not even then – look at Selma – but I suspect its saving grace is that it’s about a white man. But neither Benedict nor The Imitation Game are converting the nominations into awards and, because I am a realist, I think that this is a trend that will continue through the Oscars.
That doesn’t mean I’m not sitting here with my fingers crossed and hoping like hell that come tomorrow I have to eat my words!