The Anatomy of Oscar Bait

It's that time of year again, when all the pretentious films start crowding the theaters in their bids for Academy Award fame. Historically speaking, we know that some will be great (The King's Speech), some will be forgettable (In the Bedroom), and some will be terrible (The English Patient). They will almost certainly mean that some other deserving film that doesn't follow the Oscar rules will be left out.1

So, without further ado, the rules of an Oscar Bait film:

 The Classic

1. It's historical.

2. Preferably based on a true story.

3. About an oppressed individual beating the odds.

4. And usually saving the day at great self-sacrifice.

5. Somebody dies.



 The Fiction

1. It's historical.

2. Based on a prize-winning piece of literature.

3. About doomed love.2

4. Somebody generally dies.



  The Quirky Nominee

1. It's still historical (usually).

2. Often based on a true story and fiction.

3. Has a happy ending.

4. Sometimes somebody dies.

5. The film I wish would win, but probably won't.





1 I'm still seething that Stranger than Fiction wasn't at least nominated. Yes, I know that was 2006. I know how to hold grudges.

2 This love doesn't have to be romantic. Disease ripping apart the loved ones counts as doomed love. Now I'm picturing disease literally tearing people apart from each other.