IN A SANE WORLD, YES. BUT, ALAS: Top Gun: Maverick Should Win Best Picture.
Some will argue that Top Gun: Maverick doesn’t “deserve” the Oscar, that it wasn’t the “best” movie of the year. I’d, frankly, agree with that. It’s not even at the top of my own list, and it’s likely to be up against the movie I do think is the best of the year (Tár) in the best picture category. But to quote another Oscar favorite: Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. This is a moment for self-preservation, pure and simple, not just for a Hollywood struggling to retain relevance in an increasingly niche-ified entertainment universe but also for The Academy Awards themselves, which have seen ratings decline year after year and can’t expect the rousing triumph of Coda to remind people that, hey, the Oscars are a thing.
So, I beg you, Academy: nominate Top Gun: Maverick in all the Oscar categories for which it is eligible. Heap gold upon it on Oscar night. And bask in praise from masses who remain at least a little confused by the suggestion that the greatest film of all time is a three-plus-hour foreign flick about a woman peeling potatoes in her apartment.
As Sonny Bunch writes, “the Oscars are a trade show. But they’re a trade show that has its nose a bit up in the air.” The latter is obvious, the former is absolutely true — just ask the men who founded Hollywood. And they in particular would like to see Hollywood give itself a jump-start, before it’s too late.