Everyone loves the circus. For centuries, it has wowed audiences, captivating millions with its clowns, big elephants, and jugglers. But despite all this, Oscar voters have repeatedly failed to recognize the circus for all its excellence. In my opinion, enough is enough. It’s high time to give an Oscar to the circus already.
The Academy Awards have been around for almost 90 years, and not once has the circus received—or even been nominated for—one of their iconic gold statues. This is truly appalling, as the circus is consistently thrilling, imaginative, exciting, compelling, powerful, and thought-provoking. Do those words remind you of anything?
If you thought of 1971 Oscar winner The French Connection or 2004 Oscar winner Hilary Swank, you’ve just made my point.
We all have so many fond memories of the circus. From the acrobat’s spin to the lion, the circus has embedded itself within our collective consciousness through an endless supply of iconic moments. But this doesn’t make it “popcorn entertainment.” Behind the flash is a nuance and detail that should have led the circus to Oscar glory a long time ago. The incredible costumes, the meticulous choreography, and the animal training that enables the animals to perform tasks few others could—they give the circus the attention to detail that allows the viewer to be transported to a whole different world. It can be easy to miss because of eye candy like the human cannonball, but it’s all there if the Academy is willing to look.
In a perfect world, the circus would always begin the following way: “Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages…get ready to watch the Oscar-winning circus!”
Could it be that voters take the circus for granted because it’s so steady year after year? Might it get overshadowed because it’s not obvious enough Oscar bait? Or maybe it’s just too large to give just one award to, and voters feel overwhelmed. I can somewhat understand that. From the trapeze artists who defy death by walking a tightrope 50 feet in the air, to the design of the circus tent, to the ringmaster’s eternal struggle to keep the circus from happening, there are countless components worthy of an Oscar on their own. It’s certainly a lot to keep track of.
But regardless, as of right now, no part of “the greatest show on earth” has any Oscars to its name. And that is totally unacceptable.
In a perfect world, the circus would always begin the following way: “Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages…get ready to watch the Oscar-winning circus!” But sadly, this is not the case. I have decided that if the circus is not at least nominated for an Oscar this year, I will never watch the ceremony again, no matter who the host might be. The Oscars will be stripped of all their legitimacy if the Academy refuses to even acknowledge the circus, and I just can’t support an organization so obtuse and backwards.
And neither should you.